Executives from Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz expect an “Apple Car” will launch by 2021 as a precursor to a fully autonomous successor model to be introduced around 2026 as regulatory conditions are altered to allow features such as fully automated parking, according to AutoCar UK.
The article says Apple’s goal is to see 500,000 sales “iCars” a year — “an acceptable target for a company new to the automotive scene and 10 times what another one of California’s electric car start-ups, Tesla, managed in 2015.” Combined sales of the BMW i3 and i8 totaled just 29,500 last year.
AutoCar UK says an Apple-branded auto will sport “disruptive technologies” such as highly efficient electric propulsion, rapid charging, autonomous driving capability, gesture control, holographic displays, wireless internet functions, artificial intelligence, and more. The article claims Apple has already allocated “billions” of dollars to development programs like the electric driveline program being carried out in Sunnyvale.
When asked about the rumored electric car last year Apple CEO Time Cook said, “I don’t have anything to announce about our plans. But I think there’s some significant changes in the automobile industry over the next several years with electrification and autonomous driving. And there’s a need for a focus on user interface. So I think there’s a lot of changes that will go on there.” In a more recent shareholder meeting, he was again asked about an Apple-branded car. “Do you remember when you were a kid, and Christmas Eve it was so exciting you weren’t sure what was going to be downstairs,” he said. “Well, it’s going to be Christmas Eve for a while.”