Apple’s “Project Titan” team has been working on self-driving car technology since 2014 and has long been rumored to be working on its own self-driving vehicle. While it appeared the company might settle for creating autonomous vehicle software, today’s report indicates the company’s work has progressed so well that it now feels it can indeed build a vehicle for consumers.
Unnamed sources told Reuters that Apple is developing a new battery design that has the potential to “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range.
Apple is building a “monocell” battery design that will free up space inside the battery pack by removing pouches and modules that hold battery materials.
Apple’s design means that more active material can be packed inside the battery, giving the car a potentially longer range. Apple is also examining a chemistry for the battery called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, the person said, which is inherently less likely to overheat and is thus safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.
A Reuters source told it that Apple’s battery technology is “next level” and described it as similar to “the first time you saw the iPhone.”
Apple is said to be planning to rely on a manufacturing partner to build vehicles. Apple could still decide to reduce the scope of its efforts to an autonomous driving system that would be integrated with a car made by a traditional automaker, one of Reuters sources added.
The vehicle could feature multiple LiDAR sensors for scanning different distances, and some of those could be created from Apple’s internally developed LiDAR units.
It should be noted that pandemic-related delays could push the start of production into 2025 or beyond.