Don’t expect to go down to your local auto showroom to test drive a shiny new Apple Car any time soon. Even though Reuters last week reported that Apple is targeting 2024 for the beginning production of its much-rumored electric vehicle, but Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the launch will be in the 2025-2027 timeframe at the earliest.
In a research note on Sunday, shared by MacRumors, Kuo said that he would not be surprised if the vehicle’s launch timeframe is pushed out even farther to 2028 or later:
We predicted in a previous report that Apple will launch Apple Car in 2023–2025 […] However, our latest survey indicates that the current development schedule of Apple Car is not clear, and if development starts this year and everything goes well, it will be launched in 2025–2027 at the earliest. Due to changes in the EV/self-driving market and Apple’s high-quality standards, we would not be surprised if Apple Car’s launch schedule is postponed to 2028 or later.
Kuo is advising investors to avoid buying Apple Car-related stocks at this time, saying the market is “overly bullish” about the Apple Car’s launch schedule.
Kuo also said there is uncertainty about how competitive Apple would be in the EV/self-driving vehicle market due to the company’s lagging behind in deep learning/artificial intelligence:
The market has high expectations for Apple Car. Still, we remind investors that although Apple has a variety of competitive advantages, it is not always successful in new
business. For example, Apple failed to enter the smart speaker market. The demand for HomePod and HomePod mini were lower than expected, and the development of new smart speaker models had been temporarily suspended. The competition in the EV/self-driving car market is fiercer than that for smart speakers, so we think it’s perilous to jump to the conclusion that Apple Car will succeed.
If Apple Car wants to succeed in the future, the key success factor is big data/AI, not hardware. One of our biggest concerns about Apple Car is that when Apple Car is launched, the current self-driving car brands will have accumulated at least five years of big data and be conducive to deep learning/AI. How does Apple, a latecomer, overcome this lagging gap?
The Reuters report said 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.
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.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week tweeted that a “monocell” battery is “electrochemically impossible.” Musk also claimed that he once reached out to Apple CEO Tim Cook about the possibility of the electric car maker being acquired by Apple. Musk says Cook “refused to take the meeting.” Musk says he made the overture to Apple during “darkest days of the Model 3 program,” offering Tesla for 1/10 of its value.