Apple's Not So Secret Electric Car Plans: Apple Hires Tesla's Powertrain Head

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Apple plans to directly compete with Tesla. It won't be much competition. It will be the end of Tesla.

Electrec reports Apple hires Tesla’s head of electric powertrains in effort to bring electric car to market.

There has long been a debate about Apple’s secretive automotive project being only about a self-driving system for vehicles rather than a full electric autonomous vehicle. It now looks clear that the latter is the case as Apple hires Tesla’s head of electric powertrains.

Earlier this month, we reported on Tesla losing its VP of Engineering behind its latest electric powertrains; Michael Schwekutsch.

When Schwekutsch joined Tesla back in 2015, we described his background: “Michael Schwekutsch joined Tesla last year to lead powertrain developments after a two-decade long career working for legendary third-party powertrain engineering firms like BorgWarner and GKN Driveline. More recently, he managed programs for the electric and hybrid powertrains of the BMW i8, Porsche 918 Spyder, Fiat 500eV, Volvo XC90, among other popular vehicles."

He is the latest of several top Tesla engineers to join the project, which was for a time thought to only consist of a self-driving system for vehicles after a scale-back of the plan. Now that Schwekutsch, who has exclusively worked on electric powertrains over the last decade, has joined Apple, it is becoming clear that the company plans to bring a complete electric vehicle to market.

Other Announcements

Not So Secretive

Although Apple's precise plans are unknown, it's crystal clear Apple plans to directly compete against Tesla.

Apple's Tremendous Advantages

  1. No debt
  2. Apple has money making operations to fund a large project
  3. Apple won't put operations in a tent
  4. Apple can afford to hire and pay the best
  5. Quality will rise, bumpers will stay on, paint jobs won't look like a 6-year-old did them, etc.
  6. The CEO will not make idiotic Tweets or promises, nor will the CEO challenge the SEC.

Tesla cannot possibly survive direct competition from Apple.

The pertinent question is: When does production start?

That's the secret.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (74)
No. 1-28
shamrock
shamrock

Tesla can't survive vaporware? This is the same day Apple announced they couldn't make their wireless charging station work and abandoned it.

KSFO
KSFO

Late last year i read an article on Seeking Alpha by Paulo Santos, who made great arguments for an Apple car program. With numerous patents already in or applied for including power train related stuff, a work force larger than Tesla's early years, and would not be built in house, but , instead from someone such as Magna-Steyr .

hmk
hmk

Will be a money loser for Apple and will cut profitability. Does anyone think an independent can make an EV and make money. As of now there is no business case to own an EV. I don't think AOC even has one. They are a novelty or status symbol. I personally think Tesla's are fugly. They are a money loser for the big 3 and like the US budget deficit will remain so as far as the eye can see.

Realist
Realist

If Apple wants to produce electric cars, that’s fine with me. If they put Tesla out of business; I’m okay with that too. Competition is a good thing as it spurs human ingenuity and technological advances to the benefit of all. Companies rise and companies fall.

Electric is still not completely practical yet compared to ICE, because battery tech is not yet good enough and the required infrastructure is not yet in place. I have long held the view that gas/electric hybrids are a more practical intermediary until those two requirements are met.

I am also a fan of autonomous vehicles and I look forward to a time when they are capable of safely transporting us without our input. Perhaps both full electric and full autonomous will be in the majority of vehicles within 15 years or so. We could certainly use to reduce emissions caused by ICE vehicles.

I don’t really care which companies end up building the vehicles we will be using in the future. If Apple turns out to be one of those companies, then good for them.

2banana
2banana

Wait a sec...

A company can make EVs without billions in taxpayer monies, without government picking winners/losers and without massive credits for consumers to buy their cars?

Oloos
Oloos

EVs? Apple can't even deliver a wireless charging pad! I value Mish perspective, but if someone thinks Apple can just make EVs in mass production any time soon, it is a dillusion. This just shows their main market, cell phones, is saturated with nowhere to go but try to jump into other trendy things...They do have a lot of cash to burn, but burn it they will!

mark0f0
mark0f0

Apple's culture isn't to hire the best, nor is it to pay competitively.

JanNL
JanNL

The EV is still a solution in search of a problem...

domain
domain

More importantly, Apples goal and focus will be on creating a profitable and quality product to satisfy the consumers needs, as opposed to Teslas focus on cultivating and maintaining the cult of personality surrounding Musky Elon...

caradoc-again
caradoc-again

The others to worry will be the Germans, more so if Apple have a new ownership model in mind to upset the market.

I own zero Apple products but have to admire what they have achieved and they are capable of upsetting old thinking.

caradoc-again
caradoc-again

What if it's not a car but a short haul vertical take off and landing aircraft/taxi? Powertrain not to dissimilar and efficiency critical.

There a couple of these companies coming along with booking via phone. Hope across cities to avoid congestion.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

Even if Apple were to force Tesla to close, Elon Musk is not going away because of the tremendous work Space-X has done for NASA.

RonJ
RonJ

Will Apple call it the iCar?

killguil
killguil

You guys are with your heads on the clouds that will be the end of Tesla. Apple makes the most expensive and highest margins on smartphones today because it was born a cult, now it is status.

Tesla is similar, but I argue that Musk's economic plans for the future holds more sense than Apple's who is driven mostly by money.

Apple pays dividends, Tesla invests on the future. Apple got fat, Tesla is like a Rocky Balboa heading to the stairs.

Let's see who wins. I bet on Tesla, they were studying electric cars when everybody thought was insane, since more than a decade ago. There is no way to go around that with only "money" and hiring (some try stealing: Xpeng, etc).

The challenges are: 1 billion miles of data for FSD, proprietary and dedicated neural net accelerator, the best and lightest electric motors, supercapacitors and dry coating electrodes tech projects, all the codes, Buffalo's solar panels and upcoming tiles, and the most important, batteries. It may seem that Apple is older than Tesla at this, but be not confused, Tesla already produces batteries at a rate higher than Apple.

Finally, I don't trust Apple's battery management systems, with the years they reduce the power of your device to increase charging cycles. That is only because they did not tested it hard enough to guarantee thy quality over the years, or it was bad faith to sell more powerful systems that cannot hold their characteristics over time.

But everyone is welcome to try.

thimk
thimk

ok so we are spending billions on EV tech that requires huge spikes energy; to be recharged on a 1960's grid. cart pulling the horse methodology. So when my neighbor recharges his EV, my lights will dim?

Ossqss
Ossqss

Was Tesla ever a viable business entity or did they simply survive with direct and indirect subsidies?

CCR
CCR

Apple has well over 100 B in debt.

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

That political satire might gey a new meaning.

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

Tesla has major issues.

It doesn't follow iCar is guaranteed success.

Carl_R
Carl_R

It takes a giant leap of faith to believe that Apple will be automatically successful in this. Apple has done well when it has taken an innovative lead, thinking out of the box to creative new products. It has not done well when competing with established products, purely on the basis of manufacturing. Apple has been an outstanding software company, but has always pictured itself as a hardware company.

Making a car is a massively different than making a phone. Perhaps Apple will be successful, perhaps not. If they succeed, I suspect it will not be because of the automotive technology. Rather it will be because they come up with an innovative, user friendly control interface that will be more intuitive than the current system of buttons, knobs, and random information panels.

Seb
Seb

Battery technologies will see this through. And someone will hit the battery tech sweet spot. There are lots of robots that will need to come online soon that will require it. The day is coming short of a direct meteor hit. Coal is outdated like whale oil became outdated. My solar overproduces for my needs already and it’s just one house. Charging a car wouldn’t hurt me at all. Solar prices will come down and efficiency will go up. Add a battery to my house that can store 3-550 kWh and we are Golden. Or add a large storage to the neighborhood. Possibilities are huge.

RobinBanks
RobinBanks

The sat nav could be interesting in the iCar if they use Apple Maps.

Wagner40000
Wagner40000

Saw a comment on Zerohedge today: "Tesla will be out of business in less than 5 years. "

Finally Tesla critics have shifted goalposts to have more time reserves for their predictions. For the past 7 years it used to be "Tesla will be out of business by end of this year".

BDD
BDD

This idea that another company introducing an electric car is going to kill Tesla is ridiculous. There are over ten major car companies currently. If electric propulsion becomes mainstream, then there will be numerous companies that will be successful with electric vehicles. Some will be new car companies and some will be established car companies.

Mish
Mish

Editor

"It takes a giant leap of faith to believe that Apple will be automatically successful in this. "

It takes hardly any faith. Musk did not know how to make cars and arguably he came close to pulling it off. He has too much debt to compete against Apple if the latter gives it a go, and I believe they will.

bradw2k
bradw2k

Funny, because I just had a Tesla driver explain to me last week that it is "the iPhone of cars."

I did not offer my counter-analogy: a Tesla is a fifty-thousand dollar couch you get to sit in during rush hour traffic.

Cbb
Cbb

Apple can make an electric car and beat Tesla is a myth. They have zero car manufacturing experience, yes they have a lot of cash but that doesn't guarantee success. Oil companies also have a lot of cash, and why don't they produce cars then? Because marking cars requires dedicated people like Elon Musk and there is huge competition among other car manufacturers. Apple is very good to make money if they have less competition but recently they have more rivals and Apple cannot sell iphones more than $1,000, they are losing market share to others and now they are looking for other fields which they have zero experience. I believe Tesla will stay in the market for many years to come and even if Apple tries to compete with Tesla and becomes successful, Elon Musk can sell his stake to a rival like BMW and encourage other share holders to do that too, then Apple has to compete not with an indebted Tesla but a BMW-Tesla group which has enormous power both manufacturing good cars .