Apple appears to be back in the “building a car” game with an EV said to be coming in 2024.

Tech behemoth Apple Inc. is apparently on again when it comes to its on-again, off-again oft-speculated about Project Titan, after media reports say the company will bring out a vehicle potentially using a cutting-edge battery technology in 2024.

Apple’s been walking the line of potentially building an electric vehicle for most of the last decade, scooping up top tech minds from potential competitors, like Tesla, during that time. However, the company would never officially confirm Project Titan or its plans to build its own car.

However, a few years back, CEO Tim Cook decided to put the rumors to rest, saying the company was working on the development of autonomous technology that could be used by automakers. However, a new report from Reuters, which cites multiple sources familiar with the project, claims that an actual car is coming in three years, separate from the self-driving technology.

(Apple cuts over 200 jobs at autonomous vehicle project.)

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called self-driving vehicles “the mother of all AI projects.”

The tech giant’s been close before, hiring Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla Inc., to oversee the project in 2018 and laid off 190 people from the team in 2019, according to Reuters. However, since then, the company’s been plugging along and now believes it’s made enough progress to build a vehicle, Reuters reported.

In an age where electric vehicle startups are seemingly commonplace, Apple’s return to the game doesn’t seem all that big a deal, until the report of the new battery design comes into play. Automakers are looking to improve batteries significantly so the costs will be on par with a vehicle with a gasoline- or diesel-powered engine.

The sources told Reuters that the new design could “radically” cut the battery cost while increasing the vehicle’s range. Current range for the top EVs exceeds 300 miles on a single charge, but Tesla, Lucid, General Motors and others are proclaiming that they’re pushing beyond 400 miles with their current vehicles. By the time an Apple EV shows up in 2024, the range could be double that, if not more.

(Apple files patent linked to AV driving.)

According to the story, the iPhone maker plans to use a “monocell” design. It bulks up the individual cells in the battery, freeing up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules holding battery materials. The design allows for more battery material to be stuffed in the battery, extending its range.

Apple’s autonomous vehicle — a T6 Transporter van from Volkswagen.

Additionally, Reuters reported that Apple is researching a new battery chemistry: lithium iron phosphate, also known as LFP. Its primary advantage is that it’s less likely to overheat, making it safter than other batteries.

Apple’s big checkbook instantly makes it a player in any market it chooses to compete, but building a car isn’t the same as building a phone or a laptop. Tesla has struggled with its production issues and quality problems plague each of their vehicles when they roll off the assembly line during the early launch and even well beyond that time frame.

(Apple’s autonomous vehicle involved in California crash.)

 

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