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Apple Car Details: Design, Development, Manufacturing and Target Delivery Date

BANGKOK, THAILAND – JULY 31:  The Apple logo shining on the front of Apple Central World on the stores opening day on July 31, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. Apple’s second, and largest, retail location opened today at the Central World shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand.Ê Crowds lined up in socially distanced queues after being temperature...

Apple Car, the long-rumored electric vehicle (EV) and driverless car from the iPhone and Macintosh maker, appears to be a real project.

Apple has not confirmed the project's existence. But multiple reports now detail the phantom project's progress. Admittedly, the self-driving car won't offer traditional channel partner opportunities. But it's a safe bet strategic alliance partners (chip manufacturers, independent software vendors, 5G networking companies, cybersecurity companies and more) will play a role in Apple Car's design, development, manufacturing, launch, delivery, safety and IoT security.

Apple Car Project and Potential Delivery Timeline

So what is known so far about Apple Car? Here's a timeline of news reports and chatter about the highly likely Next Big Product effort from the Silicon Valley giant.

2026: Rumored target delivery date for first Apple Cars. The original target was 2024. An initial target date for sales or pre-sales remains unclear. Source: Numerous reports.

December 6, 2022: Apple scaled back ambitious self-driving plans for its future electric vehicle and postponed the car’s target launch date by about a year to 2026. Source: Bloomberg.

CJ Moore
CJ Moore, Luminar Technologies

May 25, 2022: Luminar Technologies Inc. has hired Christopher “CJ” Moore, a manager on Apple's car project and a former director of Autopilot at Tesla Inc., to lead global software development. Source: Bloomberg.

September 9, 2021: Apple Watch veteran Kevin Lynch will now lead the highly secretive Apple Car self-driving project. Lynch succeeds Doug Field, who exited Apple to join Ford Motor. Source: Bloomberg, September 9, 2021.

September 7, 2021: Ford has hired former Apple VP of Special Projects Doug Field as chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer, reporting to President and CEO Jim Farley. Field was widely considered one of the key people leading the secret Apple Car project. Field also held keyposts at Tesla and Segway. Source: Ford Motor Company, September 7, 2021.

Ulrich Kranz

June 10, 2021:

  • Apple has hired BMW electric car division veteran Ulrich Kranz to help vehicle initiatives. Source: Reuters, June 10, 2021.

June 8, 2021:

  • Battery Power: Apple is in early-stage talks with China’s CATL and BYD about the supply of batteries for its planned electric vehicle, four people with knowledge of the matter said. Source: Reuters, June 8, 2021.

June 2, 2021:

  • Resignations: Three top managers have left Apple's autonomous vehicle unit since February 2021. The departures include Dave Scott, head of the unit's robotics team; Jaime Waydo, head of the unit's autonomous car safety and regulation teams; and Benjamin Lyon,who helped create Apple’s original car team around 2014. Still, Apple has hundreds of engineers working on self-driving car technology and also has groups of employees separately working on an actual vehicle. Source: Bloomberg, June 2, 2021.

May 22, 2021:

  • What Exactly Is Apple Car?: "Nobody knows if what Apple creates will be a car or a tech platform or a mobility service,” says Peter Fintl, director of technology and innovation for Capgemini Engineering Germany, part of a multinational that works with dozens of auto makers and parts manufacturers. Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2021.

February 19, 2021:

  • Lidar Sensor Suppliers: Apple is  in discussions with multiple suppliers of self-driving car sensors known as lidar, a key milestone toward development of its first passenger vehicle. Source: Bloomberg, February 19, 2021.

February 15, 2021:

  • Nissan - No Deal: Apple approached Japan’s Nissan in recent months about a tie-up for its secretive autonomous car project, but talks are no longer active, according to people briefed on the matter. Source: Financial Times.

February 7, 2021:

  • No Discussions: Hyundai Motor Co said it is not now in talks with Apple on autonomous electric cars, just a month after it confirmed early-stage talks with the tech giant, sending the automaker’s shares skidding. Source: Reuters.

February 5, 2021:

  • Potential Partner Outreach: Kia has approached potential partners about a plan to assemble Apple Car in Georgia. Source: The Wall Street Journal.
  • Rumored 2024 Apple Car Delivery Date: Under a potential deal with Apple, Kia may begin building cars under Apple's brand as soon as 2024.  The rumored deal could involve building 100,000 vehicles Georgia, where Kia has a factory.  Source: The Wall Street Journal.

February 3, 2021:

  • Why Hundia-Kia May Help Apple: By working with Apple, leaders of Hyundai-Kia believe they will accelerate development of their own autonomous and electric and vehicle plans.  Hyundai is currently partnered with Aptiv in a joint-venture developing autonomous vehicle technology, including robotaxis. Source: CNBC.
  • Apple Car's Initial Focus - Food Delivery and Robotaxis?: “The first Apple Cars will not be designed to have a driver,” said one source with knowledge of the current plan. “These will be autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile.”  That could mean Apple cars, at least initially, could focus on package food delivery operations and firms incorporating robotaxis. Source: CNBC.

January 7, 2021: Apple has held talks with Hyundai Motor about cooperation on driverless, electric vehicles, the South Korean car giant said. Source: The Wall Street Journal.

2014 - Apple Project Titan: Apple began working on developing an electric vehicle, known as Project Titan. The first details surfaced in early 2015. The effort involves a minivan-like design. Source: The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2015.

Blog posted February 5, 2021. Updated regularly thereafter as new details emerge.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.