The Apple Car project is still happening, but it’s been scaled back somewhat, according to a new report.
Apple originally wanted to develop a self-driving car, but has now abandoned those ambitions in favor of a simpler EV that the company believes it can put on sale by 2028, according to Bloomberg.
The company originally aimed to make a fully autonomous EV, but that’s reportedly proven too difficult. Until recently, Apple was still targeting SAE Level 4 capability, which would have allowed the car to take over driving duties in certain situations, but the company is now looking only at “Level 2+” driver-assistance systems comparable to Tesla’s, according to the report—essentially meaning the driver would still need to pay full attention to the road ahead.
Rumors of the Apple car go back to 2012 or 2013, with it called a “committed project” by the company in 2015. At that time Apple was reportedly aiming for a 2019 launch, but by 2020 the project appeared to be dead.
That said, in 2021, Apple and Hyundai were in talks to share development, and the tech giant reportedly focused on Kia for manufacturing—perhaps in Georgia. Talks with Hyundai/Kia quickly ended, however.
While the autonomous-driving tech may have been a bridge too far, a 2020 report also said the Apple Car was due to use next-level battery tech. The report, which listed a 2024 launch date that is now unlikely to happen, discussed a “monocell” design that used large individual battery cells in place of the modules that make up most current EV battery packs, with LFP chemistry to keep costs down. Perhaps that’s something this vehicle will retain if it ever reaches production.