Apple aims to have a fully electric and autonomous car on the market by 2025. As that deadline approaches, the iPhone maker recently disbanded its auto unit, according to a respected stock analyst, and is reportedly hoping for Porsche to help it build an Apple car in just three years.
Several Porsche executives met with Apple late last year and discussed “exciting common projects,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume confirmed during a March 18 conference call with analysts and investors. He emphasized that Porsche and Apple work closely together and are “on the same wavelength”.
These comments immediately sparked speculation about whether Porsche would participate in the Apple car project, an elusive endeavor shrouded in rumor and secrecy since its existence was reported about eight years ago.
While Apple has never talked about it openly, it is widely known that the company has developed electric vehicles and self-driving technologies through a unit called “Project Titan.” But last week, that unit had been “disbanded for some time,” according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Hong Kong-based TF International Securities.
In a series of tweets on March 20, Kuo suggested that whoever Apple is working with to build the Apple car should reconstruct the Project Titan team this year to meet the 2025 timeline.
The 2025 target was set last year under then Project Titan leader Kevin Lynch, who previously led software development for Apple Watch. Lynch was hired to replace Doug Field, a former Tesla engineer who left Apple in September 2021 for a job at Ford.
Apple needs a partner to build the car itself
Bloomberg reported in November that Apple is aiming to make its first car fully self-driving without any human intervention. No company has reached that level of automation to date. The most advanced autonomous driving software on the market today, made by Tesla, is rated at a level 2 (out of 5) according to the standards adopted by the US Department of Transportation. A level 2 system requires a driver to remain alert behind the wheel at all times.
With Project Titan’s resources taking precedence over software development, Apple has been looking around for a company to build the actual car. It has reportedly approached multiple Asian automakers, including Hyundai, Kia and Nissan. Those talks all ultimately failed because the automakers didn’t want to end up as “the Foxconn of the auto industry.”
That may be less of a concern for Porsche, given its well-established reputation for making electric vehicles. Porsche’s first electric car, Taycan, has received critical acclaim since its debut in 2019 and recently set a speed record on a cross-country trip in the US, meaning he doesn’t need any advice from Apple on building or branding a top-loading electric car. car.
Porsche has also already integrated Apple’s software and services into its newer models, including an Apple Music app with time-synced lyrics and an Apple Podcasts app that works with Porsche’s in-car voice assistant.
Porsche CEO Blume said during last week’s earnings call that the company plans to expand Apple CarPlay, a feature available in some Porsche models that allows drivers to use select iPhone apps directly on an in-car screen.
Apple has not responded to an investigation confirming the latest developments.