The Apple Car could arrive as early as 2024, reports say

A new report says Apple has been putting increased resources toward the long-rumored car.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
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What in the world is Apple up to?

Angela Lang/CNET

The Apple Car , aka Project Titan, is reportedly alive and well within the curved halls of the company's Cupertino, California, headquarters, according to a Bloomberg report published Friday.

An earlier Taiwanese report, published in December, cited unnamed sources that said suppliers will start to ramp up production of components for the long-rumored Apple Car in the second quarter of 2021 and noted the project is running a couple of years ahead of schedule. Another report from Reuters, also from December, had sources telling the publication that 2024 is the date we'll see an Apple Car. 

If you missed the Apple Car hoopla in the past, the technology giant was rumored to be close to revealing a prototype car last decade before the project was shelved. Instead, Apple decided to focus on self-driving car software and left the hardware to other companies. Unlike some technology companies and startups, Apple wasn't looking to build a robotaxi, but instead, a personal vehicle you can drive.

Bit by bit, we've also seen evidence Apple may still want to dabble with a physical car, in the form of many patent applications for physical automotive components. Just because a company files a patent application doesn't mean it'll go through with it, but still, it gives us an idea where its engineers' heads are at, at a minimum. According to the Reuters report, Apple regrouped on Project Titan in 2019 and plans to push ahead with plans for a physical car, rather than software. Plans include game-changing battery technology to pack more energy into a battery pack at a far lower cost, according to the report.

This "monocell" battery pack, as a source described it to the publication, frees up space inside the pack to include more active materials to increase the driving range while simplifying the design. A lithium-iron phosphate composition is also on the table, rather than lithium-ion, reportedly. As for self-driving technology, Apple is reportedly in talks with outside firms to collaborate on the technology, but it may build its own units in-house with experience from iPhone technology.

For now, we definitely need to take both reports with a heaping dose of salt. Apple did not return Roadshow's request for comment on the information, and we know the company holds onto its secrets tightly. And who knows, the "Apple Car" may end up not being a physical thing at all. The Reuters report acknowledges things may change again in the next few years. Perhaps the "car" will be a comprehensive suite of artificial intelligence and software used to run a self-driving car. Just like Apple has slowly started to invade infotainment systems with CarPlay, it's not implausible the tech giant will literally steer future robocars in the distant future.

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First published on Dec. 21, 2020. 

Updated, Jan. 8, 2021: Adds new information from Bloomberg.