Apple Car Was On Steve Jobs’ & Tony Fadell’s Minds Back In 2008

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

There’s been a lot of buzz as of late about a possible Apple electric car. Much of it has been concerning the potential that the offering will be a fully autonomous one (a likely possibility from the looks of it) .

Going by a recent interview with the co-creator of the iPod, Tony Fadell, the idea of an autonomous Apple car has been swirling around the heads of the management of that company for quite some time. The now-CEO of Nest reminisced during the interview about conversations he had with Steve Jobs concerning the idea all the way back in 2008.

Here are some excerpts of that interview (which was conducted as part of the season premiere of Bloomberg TV’s “Studio 1.0,” hosted by Emily Chang):

“Yes, we did. We had a couple walks. And this was in 2008” The pair posed hypothetical questions to each other, such as: “If we were to build a car, what would we build? What would a dashboard be? And what would this be? What would seats be? How would you fuel it or power it?” Jobs decided not to move forward at the time. The discussions took place when the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse, and Apple was busy trying to establish the iPhone as a mainstream product. “The Detroit auto industry was almost dead,” Fadell said in the interview.

Fadell pointed out, phones and cars aren’t that different: “A car has batteries; it has a computer; it has a motor; and it has mechanical structure. If you look at an iPhone, it has all the same things. It even has a motor in it.” said Fadell, who’s now the chief executive officer of Alphabet’s Nest home appliances company…. But the hard stuff is really on the connectivity and how cars could be self-driving.”

I suppose that’s true to a degree, but it also sounds a bit naive. Regardless, though, Apple seems to have decided that it needs designers and engineers with a lot of experience if it is going to make a car — hence the poaching of Tesla employees, former executives of major car companies, etc.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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