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Elon Musk Reaction On The Apple iCar: With Elon Musk’s Tesla delivering 241,300 electric vehicles in the third quarter of 2021 and making a 1.1 billion dollar profit in the second quarter, it doesn’t come as a surprise when other tech companies try to break into the electric vehicle game.
It is no secret that a trillion-dollar tech company, Apple, has hired over 1000 car experts and engineers to craft its own electric vehicle – the iCar. And Elon Musk, the reigning king of the electric vehicle game, had something to say about this.
So how will the iCar revolutionize the electric vehicle game, and should Elon Musk be worried about the Tesla being overshadowed?
Elon Musk’s reaction to Apple’s ‘Project Titan’.
On December 22nd, 2020, Elon Musk tweeted, revealing that he had reached out to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, during some of the worst days of the Model 3 program.
He had asked him to buy his now trillion-dollar company, Tesla, for which he would give him one-tenth of its current value. But the Apple CEO was not even bothered to attend a single meeting to discuss this proposal.
Cook later commented on this claim, neither confirming nor denying it: “I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built,” Cook told the New York Times. “I think Tesla has done an unbelievable job of not only establishing the lead but keeping the lead for such a long period of time in the EV space.”
Elon also commented on the lithium iron phosphate batteries Apple is rumored to be developing for its autonomous vehicles. He remarked how Tesla already uses iron-phosphate batteries in their middle-range cars made in their Shanghai factory.
So if the rumour is true, he finds it strange, as Tim Cook refused to attend a meeting to buy a company whose cars use the same battery he plans on using in the iCar.
It’s pretty clear that Elon Musk is concerned about Apple’s plans. Another example is when he sniped at his Silicon Valley neighbour during a conference call to discuss Tesla earnings.
He talked about how Tesla’s goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy and not to create a ‘walled garden’ that is used to bludgeon competitors. He then followed this with a fake cough and mentioned – you guessed it – Apple.
Musk took several shots at Apple and one of the main reasons was the fact that Apple had poached a considerable amount of talent from Tesla. This includes Doug Field, an Apple veteran who spent five years working as Tesla’s Sr. VP of engineering before returning to head up Apple’s autonomous car project.
What hurdles does Apple face in comparison to Tesla? Tesla is not just the market leader when it comes to electric vehicles. Its top-selling vehicles, the Model Y and Model 3, sell more than all other EV makers combined.
So why is Tesla so successful as compared to other electric vehicle makers? There are many reasons, but a major one is the importance Tesla has given to country-wide fast-charging stations that are built in parallel with the cars.
According to the findings of a comprehensive study of the electric vehicle industry conducted by management experts from the University of California and Dartmouth College, fast-charging stations are necessary for the vehicle to succeed.
There are around 4000 high vaulted super-fast charging stations in the US, the bulk of which are only available to Tesla cars. Many other electric vehicle manufacturers ignore the importance of charging stations and are, therefore, not as successful.
Apple will have to consider this fact if it is to compete with Tesla. Tesla has also been manufacturing electric vehicles since 2008, while Apple is new to the vehicle game. Furthermore, the iCar was set to be released in 2024, but with the coronavirus pandemic, sources say it could be extended to 2025.
Apple, while not having any experience in building cars, is very good at figuring out difficult problems. An Apple worker said that if there is one company on the planet that has the resources to make an autonomous car from scratch, it’s probably Apple.
But at the same time, a car is not the same as a cellphone. What technology will the iCar use, and will it challenge Tesla? Of course, a car manufactured by the most valuable tech company in the world is expected to be far more technologically advanced than any other autonomous vehicle.
The Apple car is expected to be crammed with so much technology with so much new hardware and software that it is expected to be the first autonomous vehicle that will be completely autonomous, requiring minimal to no effort by the driver in driving from one place to another.
It is also rumoured that other devices that Apple already manufactures, such as the Apple watch, will play a major role in the vehicle’s functioning.
So what about the battery?
According to Reuters, Apple hopes to bring something new to the table with a battery design that will make electric car batteries cheaper and last longer.
They plan to use a unique “monocell” design that bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials.
This design means more active material can be packed inside it, giving the car a potentially longer range. Apple is also examining chemistry for the battery called lithium iron phosphate, which is inherently less likely to overheat and is thus safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.
This technology is so innovative that people have described it as “next level” and similar to “the first time you saw the iPhone.” Apple may also make use of lidar sensors which are already in use in the iPad Pro, iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max.
These sensors allow the device to determine the distance to objects and walls, which it then uses to create a 3D map of the current view. This technology will allow the self-driving iCar to get a three-dimensional view of the road, thus helping to make the car autonomous.
If you thought this technology was astonishing, then this piece of information will blow you away. Some people are going as far as saying that Apple will remove the window from the car and the drivers would be expected to wear a VR headset while driving instead, changing our whole perception of cars as we currently know them.
It is also said that Apple’s new windows will be impenetrable and will protect the passengers inside from any flying objects. Amazing, right? Given that Apple can afford to invest limitless resources into what is essentially a side project, it is only natural for a business leader like Elon Musk to be nervous.
If Apple can execute its vision of developing a fully autonomous vehicle, it may be able to overshadow Tesla, which has not yet lived up to its promise of fully autonomous cars.
So figuring out the problem of self-driving cars is Tesla’s top priority, but it isn’t easy. Musk himself admitted that it is much harder than he thought it would be.
Apple is in a unique position to challenge Tesla, but it is unclear whether it will overshadow Tesla or not. It all comes down to who achieves the goal of fully autonomous cars first.
So that was a small look into one of the biggest recent stories of the electronic vehicle world. We’re curious, do you think the new Apple car will be able to overtake the Tesla? Let us know in the comments below!