Apple is planning to launch its very own car, but according to a recent report, its initial plan to have a passenger focused vehicles with no steering wheel and seats that face each other has fallen through. The tech company is now apparently looking to bring a much more conventional vehicle to market, with a traditional seating arrangement, an actual steering wheel and a lower than anticipated price.
Bloomberg says the Apple car will arrive in 2026 and cost under $100,000, in an effort to make it appeal to a wider range of buyers. The original plan apparently was to create a vehicle similar in concept to the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle, which would be centered around a cutting edge limousine-like interior and Level 5 autonomous driving.
Given the new expected price, it sounds like the Apple EV will be a direct competitor for vehicles like the Tesla Model S or the Mercedes-Benz EQS, although we don’t actually expect it to feature the same sedan-like design – it will probably be more of a people carrier type of vehicle that will provide the maximum possible interior room for its wheelbase.
According to the report, though, Apple has yet to settle upon a final design for its vehicle, which is currently in the pre-prototype stage, so we can only speculate. It does plan to finalize the design next year, though and then start testing actual prototypes in 2024 or 2025, which seems like quite a short time frame for a company with no automotive experience.
We know Apple was (and probably still is) looking for an automotive partner to lend it a platform that it could build its vehicle around, but we don’t know if a deal has been made. The only serious negotiations it held were with Volkswagen some two years ago, but the deal didn’t go through. In fact, back in 2021 VW CEO Herbert Diess even expressed his skepticism regarding the Apple car, stating that the effort to bring a car to market is just too great.
Apple currently has around 1,000 people working on the project and it’s already trying out various technologies aboard Lexus test mules, with much of the testing taking place on an ex-Chrysler track bought in 2021 for $125-million. In 2019, the company fired some 200 employees working on the project (called Project Titan at the time) and in May it was dealt another blow when CJ Moore (who previously served director of Autopilot software at Tesla) left the company less than a year after joining.