electric vehicle

New iPhone Upgrade Program May Point to the Apple Car

silvercar+appleWhen I first started speculating on the idea of an Apple car last February as rumors about Project Titan emerged, I was enormously skeptical that it would ultimately happen. However in the days since Apple’s most recent media event where they announced the iPhone 6s, I’ve begun to rethink my assessment. I now see a way that might lead to Apple’s entry into the car business based on their latest approach to selling smartphones.

2015 Kia Soul+ EV – The Most Electric Range You Can Get for Less Than a Tesla

2015 Kia Soul EV - 2 of 32If the mainstream media in America talks about battery electric cars at all, it usually has something to do with the latest outrageous pronouncement from Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. However, unless you live in the wealthy enclaves of Silicon Valley or southern California, chances are pretty good that you’ve never even seen a Tesla Model S much less driven one. Most of the rest of us will never be able to afford a Model S even we could find a place to buy one. For the rest of us that want to drive emissions-free there are a number of very good and increasingly affordable options including South Korea’s first entry into the segment, the Kia Soul EV.


BMW i3 REX – Carbon Fiber EV at an Almost Affordable Price

2015 BMW i3 Rex - 1 of 37

In November 2008, I sat with a group of journalists on a hotel terrace in Beverly Hills to learn about BMW’s Project i which had the aim of a building a 21st century megacity car. In the middle of the terrace sat a fairly conventional-looking grey MINI hatchback that frankly didn’t look all that advanced. However, the lessons learned from that car and the other 500 examples just like it, led directly to the BMW’s first true, next-generation automobile, the i3.


Why an Apple EV Might be the End of Tesla


Over the last couple of days I’ve been having some further discussions with people about what sort of car Apple might create if indeed they are developing one. As I said in my first post on the topic the other day, if Apple is going to build a vehicle, it will almost certainly be a premium EV in direct competition with the Tesla Model S and Model X. For any company getting into building cars for the first time today, this is probably the only rational course.

A major component of the investment in developing a vehicle is the powertrain and for internal combustion engines, that is a huge differentiator with different manufacturers having decidedly different characters. In its existing businesses, Apple contracts with other companies like Foxconn and Samsung to do all the actual production and they likely would for a car which I’ll come back to. For most of the important parts that are actual product differentiators like processors and fingerprint sensors, Apple does the design work in-house and only them manufactured to their specifications. They generally don’t like to licence these components.


Can an Apple User Experience Be Enough to Succeed in Cars?


In recent days, the speculation that Apple, Inc. has embarked on an effort to develop and produce cars has blown up all over the internet. If indeed Apple is doing this, they come at this market segment as the industry may be entering the most transformational period in its near 130 year history. I believe Apple can do some very interesting things in this field in the near term, but it’s not at all clear if the company behind the Mac and iPhone has the traits to succeed in the long run. Even if Apple does succeed in the near-term, Tesla is likely to be the first automaker to feel the pain.

The auto industry is scrambling right now to develop future cars capable of driving themselves, taking the humans completely out of the loop. As I’ve discussed previously, there are still a great many technical issues to resolve before we can turn over full control of our mobility needs to sensors, actuators and algorithms. It may in fact be decades before we have fully autonomous general purpose vehicles that can go anywhere.

The era of personal vehicle ownership may be coming to an end


2014 Nissan Leaf Review – It’s Remarkably Normal

2014 Nissan Leaf SV

2014 Nissan Leaf SV

Somehow in the eight years since I started writing about cars I’ve driven lots of electric vehicles but have never managed to spend an extended period with one until now. Having now spent a week with a 2014 Nissan Leaf SV, I can say that it’s a very good car regardless of how its propelled. That doesn’t mean it’s the best car for everyone in search of a compact hatchback, but for those whose lifestyles overlap with the limitations of today’s battery technology it’s a great choice.