Apple’s automotive development story has been something of a rollercoaster – and we hope that doesn’t follow through to the driving experience. Way back in 2015 we first heard about Apple’s plans to enter the electric vehicles market, but since that time the project was sometimes thought to have been shelved, and there has been turmoil in the hiring and firing of key execs and engineering talent.
Earlier in 2021 though, things seemed to get serious again with Hyundai confirming that it was to be a manufacturing partner. Hyundai’s statement was walked back somewhat very quickly, but it seems obvious Apple secrecy/pressure was at play and its new partner had simply been rather too excited and ebullient and let slip the truth.
Fast forwarding to the present day and some more leaks, this time from Taiwan, indicate that Apple is preparing to commit to mass production of its electric vehicles. Taiwanese sources with inside knowledge of auto components makers on the island say that forward-stocking requirements have been put, well, forward. Companies such as Heda, BizLink-KY, Heqin, and Futian have now been instructed to ready enough parts for assembly of the Apple Car, to prepare for launch day.
Taiwan’s Economic Daily reports that many auto-parts companies have already started to speed up the pace of production with the anticipation of Apple’s orders in mind. It mentions Heda’s new plant in Chiayi, Taiwan is accelerating the deployment of AI intelligent production lines, and it will open six new production lines by Q2 next year.
Meanwhile, Heqin is also actively expanding production in its factories both in Taiwan and China. Last but not least, Futian is expected to open up a new plant next year that will more than double its electric vehicle power motor component capacity to one million sets per year.
Previous indicators pointed to an Apple Car launch in 2023 at the earliest so the supply chain murmurings are rather surprising, and perhaps should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Established electric carmaker Tesla has also been ramping up orders recently.