Apple’s biggest challenge to getting a vehicle on the road might not be the design, it might not be the artificial intelligence, and it might not be the software and the manufacturing – but it is certainly the most mundane challenge of all: the lack of charging stations.
Apple Cars also needs charging stations
In the United States, Apple’s territory and still its most important market, the US Department of Energy tells us that there are only 111,000 public electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations, which is what the Apple Car should be.
It will increase; the US Infrastructure Bill aims to finance a national network of 500,000 chargers. Although this is a large number, it is not enough and the deployment will take time. Since these energizing locations must be evenly distributed throughout the territory To prevent people in EVs from running out of juice while on the move, the lack of infrastructure will be a stumbling block for anyone in the EV space – including current US EV maker No. 2, Ford.
Hybrid vehicles won’t be around forever, as the transition from fossil fuels seems inevitable over time.
But the problem is that cars move – and while home EV charging points may be part of the solution, they’re of no use when you’ve hopped in your Apple car and asked Siri for you. drive through Dakota.
Given that most economies have now accelerated the deployment of electric vehicles towards 2030, the pace of infrastructure deployment needs to accelerate. He must. the World Economic Forum estimates that we will need a whopping 290 million charging points to support all the electric vehicles it plans to use globally by 2040.
China, which has been investing in such deployments for 20 years, has only 2.2 million charging stations to support the 4.5 million electric vehicles currently in use there.
All are not equal
Standardization is another issue. Even for those who have or can get access to them (and many don’t), electrical outlets installed in the country require investment, electrical networks need to be upgraded, and automakers really should agree on a set of standards for coupling devices.
Currently, systems vary by manufacturer and country. This threatens a scenario where a driver visits an EV charging point listed on their map, only to find that they are not charging their vehicle.
Not surprising Alix Partners found that 46% of drivers will not buy EC until charging stations are as common as gas pumps.
(With this in mind, note that many large gas companies are now preparing to install electric vehicle charging facilities in some of their forecourts, but this still leaves the challenge of fixing power grids to support and meet this new demand. .)
Apple may be closer than you think
What’s a California company with a deep R&D budget and a passionate desire transform the world of personal transport to do?
We know the company continues to explore space. We know he has encountered significant challenges on this road, because the creation of autonomous vehicles has proven to be much more than a simple technological problem. This is a problem that has raised ethical, environmental and technical dimensions.
It turned out that mobile networks are not widely used as part of the collision detection system for a vehicle underground or in a tunnel. It required significant investment in machine vision intelligencecontextual alert systems and even greater investments develop processors able to make decisions based on hundreds of different data points in real time, safely and without killing anyone.
As we all know (and Tesla’s problems show), many of these issues remain a work in progress. The ethical dimension, on the other hand, means that even if you have created a working vehicle intelligence, it must also be able to respond to moral probabilities, like deciding who to kill in a collision in which the vehicle still has action – the occupant of the car or the innocent party crossing the road. And don’t even get me started on what happens when you put a security backdoor inside a moving vehicle.
Some of these issues are even more complex than deciding which materials/designs of Apple Watch bands might look good when used as seat padding or deciding which set of APIs to support as the company develops inevitably its Apple Car App Store.
I feel like Apple is much further along on many of these issues than anyone realizes. A series of recent reports claim it is already in discussions with potential manufacturing partners.
But even once the R&D and manufacturing challenges are resolved, it still leaves the company to come up with a relevant go-to-market strategy (likely some combination of private ownership and carpooling/short-term leasing) and – perhaps the biggest sticking point to the widest possible rollout – the need for a compatible network of EV charging stations to keep those Apple cars rolling on the roads of tomorrow.
In my opinion and despite the current hype, at this point in the evolution of electric vehicles and the Apple Car, a company like Charging point seems like a better strategic acquisition from Apple than Peloton. Apple is going to have to keep pushing this Apple Car show down the road one way or another.
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