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Apple's Electric Car Project To Be Led By Bob Mansfield (techcrunch.com) 143

An anonymous reader writes: Long-time Apple executive Bob Mansfield will lead Apple's electric car project, according to the Wall Street Journal. TechCrunch reports: "Mansfield stepped down from the Apple executive board in 2013, yet stayed around the company to work on, what Apple called, special projects. In this role he was reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. One of Mansfield's projects turned out to be the Apple Watch. Now it seems he will head-up Apple's car ambitions -- a project Apple has yet to publicly confirm. During Mansfield's tenure he lead the engineering teams responsible for numerous products including the MacBook Air, iMac, and the iPad."
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Apple's Electric Car Project To Be Led By Bob Mansfield

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    • No thanks.

      Why?

      94% of AppleWatch owners are still happy [computerworld.com] after a year of ownership. Not many cars have better satisfaction ratings (though some do).

  • You must reboot your car to install updates. Click here to automatically pull over and do it now, or here to do it tonight. Sorry that you are driving and in the middle of something while I am pestering you with this. - Your car. PS - Last night, you were hacked.
    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      Used a third-party wheel nut? Won't start. Ha.
    • You must reboot your car to install updates. Click here to automatically pull over and do it now, or here to do it tonight. Sorry that you are driving and in the middle of something while I am pestering you with this. - Your car. PS - Last night, you were hacked.

      I found your problem: You must be in a Microsoft car.

      • Indeed! Although to be honest, as a fairly loyal Mac user, I have not found Apple's software to be any more reliable than MS. The software is FAR, FAR more usable and intuitive. My iPhone sometimes has to be restarted (about once a week - I can't swipe, but restarting fixes it). The iTunes app is a horrible mess (unlike most Apple software, its usability is very poor, due to inconsistency in various parts of the app). The original Apple TV (version 1) was so bug-ridden that I actually started keeping a list
  • It could be led by Rob Liefeld.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @05:45AM (#52580755)

    I mean whole cars meant for consumer sale.

    While it's not like they don't have the cash (in Ireland..), but vehicle assembly is a huge job and I'm guessing that many of the parts for an electric car aren't something you can necessarily just get out of the Bosch parts bin or get from jobbers.

    My guess is they're building one to try to understand them from the ground up to be suppliers of technology or to lure a major carmaker without an electric car into building it for them.

    • My guess is they're building one to try to understand them from the ground up to be suppliers of technology or to lure a major carmaker without an electric car into building it for them.

      Making electric car components is not hard, and there are few real gains to be made in the drive train. The biggest area remaining for innovation/cost reduction is the batteries, and I doubt that Apple wants to become the world's biggest battery company. I suspect the whole 'electric car' angle is simply because they wouldn't exactly start working on a future transport solution by using a petrol car as a base.

      Autonomous cars will be a massive disruptor the day they are released. This will happen someday, bu

      • Innovation in cars (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @07:27AM (#52581009)

        Making electric car components is not hard, and there are few real gains to be made in the drive train.

        Speaking as someone who makes electronic car components for a living, I'd say you have no idea what you are talking about if you think making them isn't hard. I think there are substantial gains still to be made in the drive trains, particularly for EVs and hybrid vehicles. I think gasoline and diesel engines are probably well into the diminishing returns though.

        The biggest area remaining for innovation/cost reduction is the batteries, and I doubt that Apple wants to become the world's biggest battery company

        Any company that wants to compete in EVs in a big way is going to have to become a battery company or have VERY tight relations with one. I agree that batteries are probably the biggest area in need of advancement and the most likely to see it happen.

        • Making electric car components is not hard, and there are few real gains to be made in the drive train.

          Speaking as someone who makes electronic car components for a living, I'd say you have no idea what you are talking about if you think making them isn't hard. I think there are substantial gains still to be made in the drive trains, particularly for EVs and hybrid vehicles. I think gasoline and diesel engines are probably well into the diminishing returns though.

          Okay, so what would be an innovation in drivelines that would be so disruptive to the industry? Better power electronic switches? You think Apple is doing all this so they can beat out infineon on power switch topologies? Or maybe they have some new improved modulation software for the drivers that will improve them over the 95%+ efficiency they are now. You think that is what a consumer electronics company has 1000 engineers working on? What about motors? Are they developing a core steel that can handle hi

          • Okay, so what would be an innovation in drivelines that would be so disruptive to the industry?

            Room temperature superconducting motors at economically viable price points. That would be a very substantial innovation and there is no known opportunity for equivalent improvement in fossil fuel drivetrains. You seem to have missed the point. I'm saying that EV drivetrains have more room to improve than fossil fuel ones in automobiles. I'm not saying they aren't already very good - they are.

            You think Apple is doing all this so they can beat out infineon on power switch topologies?

            I have no idea what Apple is doing and don't pretend to. Whatever improvements they might bring to the car indu

        • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

          Really there is huge gains to be made in the drive trains for electric vehicles? May I scathingly ask where? Is it the motors - nope they are already ludicrously efficient. Is it the gearing - nope nothing new going on there. Is it the power electronics - I guess some small gains may be made here but nothing radical. So where exactly are the substantial gains going to come in the drive train then?

          Improvement in electric vehicles will all come from the power source, be it batteries, fuel cells or something

          • Really there is huge gains to be made in the drive trains for electric vehicles? May I scathingly ask where?

            You may although there is no need to get scathing about it. If you want to skip the incremental improvements we can go straight to superconductivity.
            Supercapacitors are in kind of a grey area between power source and drive train controls and probably are an opportunity. You noted some of the other opportunities (transmissions, electronics, controls, etc) which are more incremental in nature. There also are economic opportunities for improvement. Electric drivetrains are comparatively expensive at the pr

          • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
            Traction motors in Tesla cars still have reliability issues - designing a compact motor capable of dynamic loads is NOT trivial. And even then Tesla motors tend to overheat if you use them hard enough for 10-15 minutes - you get a "Thermal throttling" message and lose a significant amount of power as a result. This is not a problem for regular Teslas unless you drive them on a racetrack, but it will become a problem for larger vehicles.

            Then there is a question of cooling. Tesla uses a rather simplistic pr
        • Making electric car components is not hard, and there are few real gains to be made in the drive train.

          Speaking as someone who makes electronic car components for a living, I'd say you have no idea what you are talking about if you think making them isn't hard. I think there are substantial gains still to be made in the drive trains, particularly for EVs and hybrid vehicles. I think gasoline and diesel engines are probably well into the diminishing returns though.

          The biggest area remaining for innovation/cost reduction is the batteries, and I doubt that Apple wants to become the world's biggest battery company

          Any company that wants to compete in EVs in a big way is going to have to become a battery company or have VERY tight relations with one. I agree that batteries are probably the biggest area in need of advancement and the most likely to see it happen.

          And in case anyone hasn't noticed, Apple is one of the leading innovators in battery technology.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Historically Apple haven't made most of the components in their systems anyway. They bought a CPU company (although not an actual fab, they just do design) but that's about it. Everything else is off the shelf or slightly customised for Apple but basically standard stuff, with a shiny Apple case wrapped around it.

        So chances are their car will be mostly just parts from established manufacturers with an Apple shell and high level software.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          I guess that's part of my question. A lot of car parts do come from the existing global parts supply chains, so building a "new" internal combustion vehicle wouldn't be that hard because almost nothing about it would be unique or proprietary and would be available from suppliers, right down to complete power trains.

          With electric cars, though, there's a lot of engineering synthesis between the batteries, the drive train, even the braking (for regenerative braking) and in some ways, even the chassis consider

        • Historically Apple haven't made most of the components in their systems anyway.

          By "make" do you mean "Design", or strictly "Manufacture"?

          Because, other than IBM (and maybe even including them), Apple likely Designs more custom silicon for their products than any other "high-tech" company. They wisely have steered-clear of the money-pit that is "Fabrication", though.

          Oh, and the custom-chip-designing history at Apple goes back even to the Apple //c days.

        • Historically Apple haven't made most of the components in their systems anyway. They bought a CPU company (although not an actual fab, they just do design) but that's about it. Everything else is off the shelf or slightly customised for Apple but basically standard stuff, with a shiny Apple case wrapped around it.

          So chances are their car will be mostly just parts from established manufacturers with an Apple shell and high level software.

          As opposed to Google? What apart from Internet Search has Google developed that didn't actually come from a company they bought? Heck, all their "inventions" in autonomous cars were ready long before Google even existed.

      • I doubt that Apple wants to become the world's biggest battery company.

        Why do you not think they already are? With over a billion iPhones sold, hundreds of millions of iPads, hundreds of millions of laptops... few companies on earth can surpass Apple on battery manufacturing and research and most importantly charging and management firmware. Not even Tesla.

        Honestly what company on earth makes greater use of advanced batteries than Apple today?

        This will happen someday, but maybe not as soon as people thin

    • Most likely they're already in talks with Elon Musk to buy batteries.

      After that it's just an assembly line. Automotive engineers and industrial engineers are all over the world. Building electric cars is well within their capability.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )
      Apple will biuld cars in the same way they build phones. They buy complete components from someone else, have them bolted together by cheap labour, encase them in an body kit and then charge an arm and a leg for the "Transport Experience".

      In reality this means you get the engine from a Nissan Leaf, the suspension from a Citroen C1, the chassis form a Chevorlet Cruze, the dash and cluster from a Tata Nano and the battery from a Halfords bargain bin wrapped an expensive plastic shell to be sold to you by a
      • Apple will biuld cars in the same way they build phones. They buy complete components from someone else, have them bolted together by cheap labour, encase them in an body kit and then charge an arm and a leg for the "Transport Experience".

        You're full of shit.

        Apple designs their own SoCs for their iOS devices.

        Apple designs their own PCBs. Apple designs and manufactures their own batteries. Apple designs and manufactures their own packaging (chassis/cases, etc.).

        Apple designed and manufactures their own biometric sensor and its associated electronics.

        Apple designed their own I/O connector (Lightning) and everything to go with it.

        Apple designs and manufactures their own power supplies and AC adapters.

        Apple designs and manufactures t

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      My guess is they're building one to try to understand them from the ground up to be suppliers of technology or to lure a major carmaker without an electric car into building it for them.

      There's a bit of truth to that. I mean, Apple competing with the likes of Tesla and such seems unlikely, and Google's got a good head start with autonomous vehicles so it seems like an Apple car is nothing more than a research project. Plus, as Tesla found out, the dealership model isn't the greatest in the world to deal wit

    • I mean whole cars meant for consumer sale.

      While it's not like they don't have the cash (in Ireland..), but vehicle assembly is a huge job and I'm guessing that many of the parts for an electric car aren't something you can necessarily just get out of the Bosch parts bin or get from jobbers.

      As opposed to the parts for the iPhone? Apple sure as hell knows how to design their own hardware, and how it can be made, and even how to tell external manufacturers how to build them http://www.technobuffalo.com/2... [technobuffalo.com]

      Fuck, they build their own industrial robot to disassemble iPhones. For decades Apple was able to build parts themselves they couldn't buy - or at least convince somebody else to build it for them. Just take ARM and Gorilla Glass.

  • While it would seem certain that an Apple car would certainly be aesthetically pleasing (and sure to include design features not patented in a century of car design), will they diverge from what seems to be their standard approach with consumer technology devices?

    Will it have a unique recharging cable? Or can only be recharged at outlets that also have the Apple vehicle charger?

    Will it only run on Apple-approved roads?

    Will you be able to change the battery?

  • Forget electric cars, what they wanna be doing is make a smart gun linked to a specific user(s). They'll love it, they can link to to the smart watch somehow and give people a reason to get one of them too. Make it that nice grey and stick the apple logo on it. Propriety ammunition, all movement contained within the shell, who cares if it shoots as far or as fast it'll make a killing...literally.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not another hardware project led by someone with an MBA or something. Just how hands-on is this guy?
    Any under-the-hood ( auto) experience? Ever changed a water pump? Rewired the dashboard?
    Installed own amp and speakers? Worksed with Industrial electronics and motor control systems?
    Or is this guy just another management type, with a little web search learning, and maybe a bit of common-sense?

    What are his qualifications? Besides being golf/dinner buddies with other management types?

  • You can't change out your engine. Once the battery life dies you'll have to box it up and pay for shipping to Apple's Authorized Car Care and Warranty Return Center...but only if you're car is 5 years old or less, otherwise you'll need to buy a brand new car. The tires will be permanently attached and brake pads cannot be upgraded. It'll come with a 5000 pin proprietary charging cable and you'll need to buy an adapter to charge it at other places. The nagivation system will try its best to drive you into wa
  • How are we going to power all of our electric cars if we're going to run out of electricity in 2040?

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      How are we going to power all of our electric cars if we're going to run out of electricity in 2040?

      No worries there, we'll all have stationary bicycles attached to generators, and we'll use them to recharge our car's battery before we go anywhere.

  • Nothing says automotive excellence like "long-time Apple executive."
  • Now it seems he will head-up Apple’s car ambitions — a project Apple has yet to publicly confirm.

    This silly Apple car rumor appears every year with some "sources inside Apple" saying that they will launch iCar any time now. I remember one time it certain that Apple would announce iCar because it was reported that Apple engineers met with Elon Musk and Tesla. Then Apple announced CarPlay. At this point, it is no big secret that Apple is working on CarPlay; they've been working on CarPlay all along. People somehow want it to be iCar but I don't see that as a remote possibility.

    If everyone would think abo

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