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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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If Apple is entering the car business, how much longer do internal combustion engines have?

Reuters: Apple targets car production by 2024 and eyes 'next level' battery technology

With Tesla's rise to prominence (including billions in fundraising through its high stock price), Amazon deeply invested in the space, and now further reporting of Apple going to consumers with a new car, how much longer can gas-powered cars possibly have?

Innovation in these space seems to take forever, but once there is breakaway momentum it also seems like the old technology gets replaced in a hurry.

Apple has shifted in the past decade from being a company that does new things to one that is second or third to market, but comes with a really polished product. If they've been working on cars since 2014, and there is now a lot of proof that cars can be a technology play, I would not bet against them. At a valuation of over 2 trillion dollars, they need to find new lucrative markets.

I'm not one to develop much of a "rooting interest" as far as raw capitalism goes, but electric vs gas-powered cars is definitely a space where I'm rooting for the EV folks. Car batteries are a whole different beast than phones, but no company is better positioned against Tesla in the battery game than Apple after a few decades of battery supply chain work.

Let's not forget that batteries are their own ecological hazard that needs further innovation, but as far as step-change shifts away from the earth's major pollutants, I'm really excited about this competition.

Discussion (3)

kpwags profile image

I think the biggest thing is infrastructure. With my gasoline-powered Honda Civic, I can quickly fill up and be on my way just about anywhere in the country within 10 minutes.

With electric cars, even the fast chargers around can take a while to get up to charge.

Until this gap can be narrowed further, I'm not sure electric vehicles, be it Apple, Tesla, GM or others can quite overtake the internal combustion engine.

Don't get me wrong, I want to see more electric vehicles on the road and I want to see them win out in the end. If all someone is doing is commuting back and forth from work, a Tesla is probably a great vehicle for them. I'm just skeptical that gas powered cars being overtaken by electric vehicles is happening any time in the next 5-10 years...as much as I might want it to.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I myself am a Tesla driver, and you’d be amazed how easy it is. Since I plug in at home I leave the house with a full tank every time. There is a small amount of overhead in planning for trips, but IMO the pros outweigh the cons.

However I bought my car for 49k. The more affordable EVs are a few steps behind. Not that Apple is going to come in on the affordable side, but I do think change is speeding up.

kpwags profile image

I guess I'm just worried about when I take my longer trips around the country driving 500+ miles and how easy it will be for me to find a place to charge quickly.

For general around town driving (which is most of what I do), I think they'd be great, especially once the price comes down. I'd be all for replacing either my wife's or my car with a Tesla or the like, just not sure I'd be willing to do both at this point in time.

The other thing I think we need to figure out is how to handle those who live in apartments and whatnot. I have a house and a garage that would allow me to charge it every time I come home (once I upgrade my garage's electric). When I lived in an apartment, I just had a shared parking lot...how many apartment complexes would be willing to shell out the money to put in chargers?

I know I sound like a negative Nancy, but I really do want to see electric cars succeed. I just know we have a lot of infrastructure that needs to get built out before enough people will feel comfortable getting fully electric vehicles. I do agree with you though, I think the change is speeding up.