Apple has changed its strategy to develop an electric vehicle and aims for a more basic EV with limited features designed to compete with currently available Tesla models.
The company had previously planned a fully autonomous vehicle but has now opted for a less ambitious design. The new plan for the car involves a Level 2+ system that offers limited autonomous features, such as lane centering and adaptive cruise control.
This is a significant change from the previous plan, which included Level 4 automation, allowing the car to be driven autonomously under specific circumstances, such as a local driverless taxi.
Originally aimed for a 2026 release with advanced self-driving capabilities, Apple has now adjusted its approach to focus on more basic driver-assistance features.
According to Bloomberg the latest adjustments have impacted the release timeline, pushing it to 2028 at the earliest, approximately two years later than previously projected.
Apple’s car project, codenamed Titan and T172, has been a tumultuous journey since 2014. The project has faced leadership changes, strategic shifts, hiring freezes, layoffs, and delays.
Internally, this shift is considered a pivotal moment, where Apple must either deliver the product with reduced expectations or reconsider the project’s existence altogether. The company has engaged in discussions with potential European manufacturing partners to implement the new strategy, with plans to release an upgraded system supporting Level 4 autonomy post the initial launch.
After prolonged discussions involving Apple’s board, project head Kevin Lynch, and CEO Tim Cook, it was decided to reduce the scale of the project. The car project has been a significant investment for Apple, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on research and development, including powertrains, self-driving hardware and software, and vehicle components.
If the project is yet again delayed, this projection is in line with a recent prediction from Ming-Chi Kuo in late September. According to the analyst, he had “lost all visibility” on the project and had doubts “that the Apple Car could go into mass production within the next few years.”
After Kuo’s March prediction of a dissolved Apple Car team, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives asserted that it was a matter of “when, not if” the product would arrive, and he expected it by 2026.
For a decade, the Apple Car project has always seemed three years away, yet inevitable at the same time, making it unclear whose predictions about the product are correct.