Tesla keeps making the impossible very likely to happen. Founded in 2003, nobody would have guessed Tesla would become the success story it is now until Tesla Model S was launched in 2012.
Now, 6 years forward, Tesla sells 180000 cars a year with 150000 Model 3 as the 4th most selling car in the U.S.
As the production hell is rapidly becoming a stable and fast growing production line with less automation, better supply chain and more experienced workforce, Tesla is hitting its goals, becoming positive cash flow, which makes the company ever stronger.
If iPhone was the game changer for phones, Tesla is the game changer for automotive, but it took more than a few years for gigantic automakers to believe this.
So, Tesla used this advantage of being the first player in the market when all the automotive giants thought Tesla was doomed and they created a great culture of next generation automotive.
Since none of the car companies want to be like Nokia losing to iPhone or Kodak losing to digital cameras, they had to adapt and do it fast.
Apart from German and Chinese carmakers, can Apple and Dyson become major players ?
Steve Jobs had the idea of creating an Apple car back in 2008. However, Tim Cook approved the Apple car project, Project Titan only in 2014.
Currently, Project Titan employs around 5000 employees, more than a 1000 engineers. The project is led by Bob Mansfield.
Even though, Tim Cook recently clarified that the company’s ambitions are broader than cars, emphasizing “autonomous systems” as the mother of all machine learning projects that benefit everything that Apple does, Apple recently hired Doug Field who was Tesla’s chief vehicle engineer and designer Andrew Kim in December who oversaw the design of 3, X, S and Y suggest that Apple is still seriously considering building its own vehicle.
The car may be launched in 2021 when the market is already with extremely high standard EVs built by global brands like Mercedes, Volvo or Chinese brands.
- 260 billion $ budget to spend
- Software company
- Not a car company. No automotive culture
- Late entry. 2021
- Lagging decisionmaking
The company lacks the laser focus on disruptive technology and first player advantage. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Apple launches a car in 2021, if they don’t create a product that makes even a bigger difference than what iPhone did to the smartphone market. The reason is because Model S has already stunned the global audience as the innovative vehicle that updates itself to be faster overnight.
It may be that they can create the T-a-a-S, Transportation as a Service, which will gain any car Level 3 or full autonomous driving technology to make it possible for Uber cars to be totally autonomous or any car to serve without any driver for any purpose.
This can give them a first player advantage since even Tesla with billions of miles of data does not provide full autonomy. How Apple can do this without billions of miles of data that Google couldn’t achieve can be another question that can make the whole difference.
If they can accomplish this, then, there wouldn’t be a need for logistics, production, inventory, automotive culture and it would stay true to their nature as a software company.
They could sell full autonomy for less than $5000 that Tesla is currently selling the partial autonomous driving for and make it available for any car brand that they make deals with using this as an opportunity as they did with AT&T and other mobile service providers for iPhone.
If they take the huge risk of building a car, then, they would need to collaborate heavily with suppliers and probably with other major car manufacturers.