Rumors and leaks about Apple‘s electric vehicle, which may or may not be self-driving, just keeps on pouring in. Apple has been known to eye cars but, until recently, everyone presumed it was just for in-vehicle infotainment systems. Now insider sources are revealing just how aggressive Cupertino’s automobile push really is, saying that the iPhone maker is eying a 2020 deadline for its rumored Titan EV. That is, of course, if it manages to overcome not just technological hurdles but recent new legal problems as well.
Rumors of Apple’s deeper foray into the automotive industry came to a head this month with sightings of a strange car roaming the streets that was linked to the company. While there is still some debate on whether the end product was for an autonomous car, or for mapping, almost all seem to agree that Apple is at least eying a battery-powered vehicle.
As Tesla would attest, the battery is one of the biggest challenges for an EV, but in Apple’s case, that problem is more than just technical. In order to jumpstart its car development, battery maker A123 Systems LLC alleges that Apple initiated an aggressive targeted campaign to poach its employees, which resulted in violations of non-disclosure agreements or NDAs. Apple now faces a lawsuit in Boston’s federal court, which could foil or at least delay its schedule.
Experts say that a car maker usually spends five to seven years developing a car. Ten if you’re starting from scratch. In that context, Apple’s 2020 plan seems very ambitious and probably speaks of the company’s aggressive agenda. That said, Tesla proved that you do not need to be a well-established automobile maker to pull of a successful electric vehicle, and Apple might very well be taking inspiration from that. Sources claim that the company’s team dedicated to this task already has 200 members and, as A123 points out, it is still trying to grab more, particularly those from the battery industry.
That’s not to say, however, that we will see an Apple Titan car by 2020. Despite this seemingly focused attempt, the entire project could be scrapped in an instant if the company’s executives are not satisfied by the progress within that timeframe. If all of these are true, then the pressure is definitely on. Especially for Apple and CEO Tim Cook who face the challenge of coming out with new products that will once again reshape the market the way the iPod did.