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Is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) about to launch an electric car?

apple and tesla shares represented by image of an apple on wheels
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Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) is a company I’d wager almost everyone on the planet would be familiar with. Its flagship product, the iPhone, is among the most popular consumer goods in the world.

If you throw in all of its other famous devices, such as the Mac, the iPad, AirPods and (more recently) Apple Pay, you can get a grasp of this company’s scale. No wonder Apple is one of, if not, the world’s most valuable companies by market capitalisation at US$2.18 trillion. 

But a new report from the Australian Financial Review (AFR) today could herald a new, and massive, chapter in this company’s incredible history. According to the report,  Apple is “moving forward with self-driving car technology, and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle”.

The vehicles “could include [Apple’s] own breakthrough battery technology” as well.

iCar for Apple?

Apple has reportedly been developing self-driving technology since 2014 through the dramatically named ‘Project Titan’. This project has apparently had a haphazard strategy, and has gone through various cycles of ‘will it, won’t it’.

But according to the report, “Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers”. And central to these plans is Apple’s battery technology. This, the report states, could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and “increase the vehicle’s range”. 

“If there is one company on the planet that has the resources to do that, it’s probably Apple. But at the same time, it’s not a cellphone,” is what a Project Titan worker told the report. 

However, Apple is far from guaranteed success in this endeavour. The supply chain construction alone would require enormous capital and planning. And Apple would have to play catchup to the likes of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), which has been scaling its own vehicle production to great success using its own in-house and world-leading battery technology in recent years.

Not to mention other electric car companies that have been enjoying positive news of late too, such as Nio Inc (NYSE: NIO) and Rivian. As well as the plethora of existing internal combustion engine car companies like Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) and Honda that are turning to electric drivetrains.

It’s also not the only tech giant dabbling in this space either. Alphabet Inc‘s (NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL) Waymo has been developing its own self-driving technology for years now.

But still, none of these companies has the combination of size, cash or brand power that Apple does. So it will be an interesting space to watch.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Sebastian Bowen owns shares of Alphabet (A shares) and Tesla. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Apple, and Tesla. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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