Apple’s mythical electric vehicle project is still alive, but at least another four years away

Another delay: The long-rumored Apple Car is the gift that… keeps on getting delayed. According to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the EV project is still in development but will arrive further behind schedule and as a less ambitious version of the original vision.

Codenamed Titan, the project reportedly dates back to the mid-2010s or perhaps even earlier depending on who you believe. The scope of the project has been all over the place as well, ranging from a standalone EV to a fully self-driving vehicle with no steering wheel or brakes.

Some claim Apple intended to build the vehicle from the ground up, while others have suggested a partnership with an existing automaker like BMW or Hyundai was more likely. Yet another rumor claimed Apple had scrapped the car idea entirely and was instead focusing on self-driving software.

Bloomberg’s sources say Apple has decided to move forward with a less ambitious EV design that initially delivers driver-assist features instead of full autonomy. Specifically, the Apple EV will utilize a Level 2+ system rather than the Level 5 system that engineers initially hoped to deliver.

According to SAE International, Level 2 autonomy involves steering and brake / acceleration support. A full Level 5 system can drive in all conditions without any human input.

Sources said the shift in strategy is a pivotal moment for the project: it could either lead to Apple finally being in a position to deliver an EV, or prompt executives to reconsider the whole thing. At this point, it seems to be full speed ahead but plans could always change.

It remains to be seen how an Apple EV will be received among consumers, or whether or not the company misjudged the ideal time to enter the market. Several automakers now offer electric models or have announced plans to do so in the near future, but not everyone is rushing to move away from conventional gas-powered vehicles.

Earlier this month, rental giant Hertz announced plans to sell 20,000 EVs from its fleet and replace them with internal combustion-powered vehicles.

Image credit: Ralph, InstaWalli

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