Apple targeting 2024 for car with self-driving ability, radical EV battery tech

US technology giant rumoured to be working on radical new battery technology

By Tom Morgan, Autocar UK calendar 23 Dec 2020 Views icon4693 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
icar sketch as imagined by Autocar UK.

icar sketch as imagined by Autocar UK.

Apple is reportedly planning to launch its first passenger car in 2024, using its own battery technology to "radically" reduce the price of EV batteries.

According to the Reuters news agency, the American technology giant has renewed its automotive efforts, known internally as Project Titan, which have been in development since at least 2014. 

The vehicle will incorporate self-driving technology, and use a unique "monocell" battery which uses larger cells, allowing for denser battery packs that may deliver greater range than traditional multi-cell designs used by current electric cars. 

The company is reportedly experimenting with lithium iron phosphate battery chemistry as an alternative to lithium-ion, as it is less likely to overheat.

Certain components, such as the LIDAR arrays used for self-driving functionality, will reportedly be sourced from outside partners, despite Apple designing its own LIDAR sensors for the most recent iPhone and iPad Pro models.

As with Apple's consumer electronics line-up, production of the Apple car is expected be outsourced to a manufacturing partner. 2024 is the current target, though sources within Apple told Reuters that production may be pushed back to 2025 due to pandemic-related delays.

The project is headed by Doug Field, a former Apple hardware engineer who was rehired from an engineering role at Tesla in 2018. Around 200 staff were made redundant from the team in 2019, as the company refocused its efforts on software.

Producing a passenger car would be an about-face for Apple, having previously confirmed it had ditched its plan to build an autonomous car in 2017. Speaking to Bloomberg at the time, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained that the technology giant was now completely focused on developing an autonomous system - something he said was "a core technology that we view as very important".

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