National news and automotive industry publications are abuzz this week with the news that technology giant, Apple, Inc. is planning to enter the electric car market.
The New York Times reported on February 19, 2015 that Apple is forming an auto team:
The company has collected about 200 people over the last few years — both from inside Apple and potential competitors like Tesla — to develop technologies for an electric car, according to two people with knowledge of the company’s plans, who asked not to be named because the plans were private.
The car project is still in its prototype phase, one person said, meaning it is probably many years away from being a viable product and might never reach the mass market if the quality of the vehicle fails to impress Apple’s executives.
Many mainstream OEMs have been producing hybrid and alternative fuel automobiles since the 90’s. In fact, PDI coordinated and managed the launch of Nissan’s and the industry’s first electric car, the LEAF, in 2011. And Tesla continues to make news with its electric car but has yet to deliver a mainstream vehicle.
“I think the idea of an Apple car is exciting,” says PDI President Brad Funk. “But we’re still just talking about rumors. There are endless possibilities – from an actual Apple car to Apple partnerships or, simply, new automotive technology.”
Bloomberg Business reports in Apple Car Seen as Serious Competitor by Auto Executives that the rumors are getting the attention of automotive executives.
Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.
“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”
Andrea Case, Director, Training Services, agrees that an Apple car would be an exciting addition to the automotive market. “What I find exciting about this rumor is that Apple and Google are already leaders in technology and they could bring that expertise to the automotive industry,” says Case.
Case notes that the tech giants are constantly innovating new technologies and offer quick fixes and upgrades when issues arise.
“Today’s auto technologies have seen slow, gradual improvements and advancements,” says Case. “With the creativity and innovation of a company like Apple, it could really change the industry.”
Both Case and Funk agree that an Apple concept car would appeal to the younger generation of drivers, such as millennials, who eagerly adopt new technologies.
“An Apple car could be a paradigm shift for the industry,” says Funk. “We could see technology playing a much more significant role in the consumer decision-making process.”
Apple Is Forming an Auto Team
New York Times
By Brian X. Chen reported from San Francisco and Mike Isaac from New York
Apple Car Seen as Serious Competitor by Auto Executives
By Chris Reiter and Chad Thomas