Apple Delays Electric Car Launch to 2026, Won’t Have Level 5 Autonomy

This illustration by Josh Byrnes of CarScoops shows an imagining of what Apple's EV, whose design is still in production, might look like.

Apple is tweaking its electric vehicle plans yet again, faced with the reality that producing an EV without a steering wheel or pedals isn’t yet feasible.

While the technology giant has been working towards a fully-autonomous vehicle, a Bloomberg report claimed it cannot build such a vehicle with current technology. Apple is said to have delayed the vehicle’s targeted launch date from 2025 to 2026, and is also planning to develop the car with a steering wheel and pedals.

Bloomberg said the vehicle will offer support for fully-autonomous driving on highways and let drivers perform other tasks while the car drives itself. The leader of Apple’s car project, Kevin Lynch, was the one initially pushing for a Level 5 autonomous car to be launched in 2025.

Found at the heart of Apple’s autonomous technology package is an onboard computer system codenamed Denali. The processor is said to offer performance equal to roughly four of Apple’s highest-end Mac chips combined and is nearly ready for production, having been developed by the company’s silicon engineering group. 

Apple also intends on selling its electric vehicle with cameras, radars and lidar. Apple’s system also has a cloud-based component for artificial intelligence processing that relies on Amazon Web Services for hosting.

Apple hopes to build the vehicle around a pre-existing EV platform but is said to still be on the hunt for a partner. Current plans call for the vehicle to cost less than $100,000, making it a direct rival to the Tesla Model S and Mercedes-Benz EQS. The design of the car has also yet to be finalized and won’t be completed until 2023.

It is understood Apple’s car team is made up of around 1,000 employees and is costing the company $1 billion a year. Significant testing of the car is being conducted at a former Chrysler track near Phoenix, AZ, that a business representing Apple purchased for $125 million in 2021.

We thank CarScoops for reprint permission.

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