Apple Car to Debut in 2020
A recent rumor from the folks at Bloomberg says Apple has plans to release an Apple Car by 2020, and that it will give Tesla a run for their money. The Apple Car has been fabled to be in R&D for a while now. Apparently it won’t be a unicorn like the Apple TV, however. 9to5mac does an excellent roundup of why this rumor probably has some truth to it.
Apple is on an Automotive Hiring Spree
The most glaring indicator that Apple is hard at work on the Apple Car has to be their recent hires, beginning with five engineers from A123 systems. Three of these ‘acquired’ employees are PhD researchers of battery technology. A123 creates ‘advanced battery solutions’ that can be implemented in electric cars. Apple, being the eco-conscious, forward thinking company that it is, would definitely make an electric car over a dinosaur burning, CO2 emitting relic. Sure, these battery specialists could be merely working to improve batteries so we don’t have to charge our Watches every night, but the fact that they specialize in electric car batteries is pretty telling. Worth noting, A123 Systems has filed a lawsuit against Apple for poaching these engineers. Being unable to find qualified replacements, A123 is naturally upset. Apple is also accused of poaching a few other high profile Silicon Valley researchers.
Recently Apple and Tesla have been in a sort of poaching war, trying to entice engineers away from one another. Unfortunately for Apple, Tesla is winning. According to 9to5mac, over 150 Apple engineers have been whisked away to Tesla. Apple has ‘retaliated’ by offering Tesla engineers $250,000 signing bonuses and promised salary increases of up to 60%. Apple is always in need of good engineers, but they seem to desperately need Tesla engineers. Rather, those who have a great deal of experience crafting electric cars.
Apple’s other recent hires include the former CEO of Mercedes-Benz R&D and automotive safety, gearbox, transmission, mechanical design, power train, hybrid vehicle, renewable energy and product design engineers. One could argue the poached battery engineers could potentially be working on consumer electronics products, but with all of these automotive hires, it’s pretty hard to justify any other project than the Apple Car.
Autonomous Vehicles are the Future
All this evidence almost assuredly means the Apple Car is coming. We can expect an electric vehicle, that is beautifully designed and masterfully crafted. One with a simple, elegant in-dash system that communicates flawlessly with the current array of Apple devices. Lastly the vehicle will come with the ability to drive itself, if not fully, at least mostly. I’ll dive into the self-driving aspects in next weeks post.
-Shatter Buggy, Denver