Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s Failed Car Project

By: Ben Campbell | Published: Mar 12, 2024

At the end of February, reports announced Apple had scrapped its long-term electric vehicle project after experiencing several setbacks and challenges.

The project began over a decade ago and cost the tech giant billions of dollars. Here is everything you need to know about the Apple scrapped EV.

Apple Announces Plans to Build a Car

Over a decade ago, Apple began working on its own electric vehicle, known to employees as “Project Titan.”

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A worker in a blue shirt is pictured at a vehicle manufacturing plant

Source: Freepik

While the tech company never officially announced the EV project, rumors over the past 10 years suggest it was serious about building an electric vehicle.

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The Process of Creating an EV

As far back as 2014, Apple was in the process of hiring automotive executives, per ABC7 News. By 2017, they had already obtained a permit to test self-driving vehicles from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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A man is pictured holding a charging lead for his electric vehicle

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The tech company had also secured numerous car-related patents. One would allow the driver to adjust the level of tint on a window as they drove. Another focused on a VR system to help with motion sickness.

Electric Vehicle Project Scrapped

At the beginning of March, several media outlets reported Apple’s highly anticipated EV project had been scrapped (via The Guardian).

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The plans to cancel the multibillion-dollar project come amid a particularly difficult period as EV sales continue to drop worldwide. Many employees who worked on the Titan Project have been moved to the company’s artificial intelligence division.

EV Frenzy Comes to a Halt

Speaking with ABC7 News, Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown’s investment platform, suggests Apple is following the market.

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A man is pictured working on a project from his desk

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“The tech giant is following a trend, with investors’ enthusiasm for electric vehicle investments waning, amid the frenzy for all things AI,” she said.

Apple Focuses on the Tech People Crave

Streeter said Apple will realign its focus to the technology people crave, AI.

A group of people pictured using their smartphone devices

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“It’s vital that Apple stays one step ahead in developing the tech people crave to justify its products’ high price points, so fully exploring the opportunities AI presents for its future ranges is essential,” she said.

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In-Depth Report Examines Apple’s Failed EV Project

A report published by Drake Bennett and Mark Gurman of Bloomberg examined the details of Apple’s failed EV project.

A man is pictured taking a break from his report to enjoy lunch

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According to the reporters, “The prototype, a white minivan with rounded sides, an all-glass roof, sliding doors, and whitewall tires, was designed to comfortably seat four people and inspired by the classic flower-power Volkswagen microbus.”

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Apple’s Bread Loaf

“The design was referred to within Apple, not always affectionately, as the Bread Loaf.”

Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president who worked on the electric vehicle project during its later years

Source: Wikimedia

They continued, “The plan was for the vehicle to hit the market some five years later with a giant TV screen, a powerful audio system, and windows that adjusted their own tint. The cabin would have club seating like a private plane.”

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Plans to Buy Tesla in the Beginning

According to the reporters, before Apple even began sketching its own designs, executives had met with Elon Musk about acquiring Tesla.

Elon Musk pictured in a dark suit during an event in 2022

Source: Wikimedia

“Adrian Perica, Apple’s head of corporate development, held a series of meetings with Elon Musk. But Cook, who’d succeeded Jobs three years earlier, shut the deal down while negotiations were still at an early stage,” they wrote.

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Plans to Partner with Mercedes-Benz

Apple has also tried to partner up with automotive giant Mercedes-Benz in an attempt to fast-track the project.

A photograph of a white Mercedes-Benz vehicle parked on the road

Source: Wikimedia

“Mercedes would manufacture Apple’s vehicle, while it would also sell its own cars with Apple’s self-driving platform and user interface. Apple eventually pulled out,” they wrote.

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The Project Was Deemed a Failure

“But Apple never got close to realizing its original vision, or any of its subsequent ones. It didn’t get as far as testing a full-scale prototype on public roads.”

Three workers gathered around a wooden desk for a board meeting

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They continued, “The project was also a failure, at the highest levels of the company, to settle on one thing and do it.”

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Apple Scraps 10 Years of Work

So, after a decade of rumors and billions spent, Apple finally scrapped its EV project this year.

A man is pictured packing up his things from work after being let go

Source: Freepik

With such a large investment, it seems unlikely Apple will completely close the chapter on its electric vehicle project. Should the market see another boom in the future, the tech giants may be tempted to pursue their original plan.

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