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3 Reasons Why an Apple Car Will Succeed

By Chris Neiger - Apr 21, 2016 at 9:06AM

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Apple has a few things working in its favor.

Apple (AAPL 0.17%) may be gearing up for a new iPhone 7 launch this fall, but the tech leader is also likely looking ahead to future products -- like its rumored electric car. 

It's easy to think that Apple can succeed at selling anything it wants because, hey, it's Apple. But we all know the world's most valuable company will need more than just its brand to make an Apple Car fly off the lot. 

So let's take a look at three reasons why Apple has a good shot of releasing a successful car.

Reason No. 1: The all-electric market is primed for growth. 
While the electric vehicle (EV) market still represents just a fraction of all light vehicles sold worldwide, it's growing fast. In 2015 there was roughly 2.4 million EVs sold, but that will more than double to 6 million by 2024, according to Navigant Research. 

Apple is expected to launch its car in 2019, which means it could enter the market as EVs are hitting their stride. While we're still talking about smaller numbers compared to global annual auto sales, it's important to remember that we're still at the very beginning stages of an electric car revolution.

After 2024, Bloomberg New Energy Finance says sales of EVs are expected to take off. The company's recent report shows that while EVs make up just 1% of sales right now, they'll reach 35% by 2040. 

Apple will have to contend with other automakers making EVs, of course -- particularly Tesla Motors (TSLA -6.42%). But even in 2019, the market will be anything but saturated with electric cars, and Apple's car will have plenty of room to grow with the rest of the EV market. 

Reason No. 2: Apple is putting its full weight behind a car.
Apple Insider has said Apple has over 1,000 people working on its car project. And its most recent hire, according to 9to5Mac, is former Tesla VP of Vehicle Engineering and former Aston Martin Chief Engineer Chris Porritt. Porritt is expected to lead the entire car project after longtime Apple executive Steve Zadesky (who headed up the Apple car initiative) left the company earlier this year. 

But Apple's also made other hiring moves that signify the car's importance. The company hired an artificial intelligence expert, Jonathan Cohen, away from NVIDIA (which makes semi-autonomous technologies like the Drive PX 2 platform), reportedly for his experience in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). 

Apple has also reportedly put Chief Design Officer Jony Ive in charge of parts of the project, including the team's hiring practices.

On top of that, Apple's made numerous land purchases, including ones with car garages on them, and effectively forced an electric motorcycle company into bankruptcy after it hired away so many electric-drive engineers. 

We obviously don't know exactly what all of these actions mean for Apple, but the company is clearly making a lot of moves in the automotive realm that indicate it's taking this project very seriously.

Reason No. 3: Apple has an OS advantage
Picture the inside of your car for a moment. You're likely picturing a vehicle with a massive amout of buttons and knobs. And if you have a fancy touchscreen display, it likely has a pretty clunky interface.

While Apple is already dabbling in auto infotainment systems with CarPlay, its real advantage in setting itself apart in the car market is to create a car OS from the ground up. It would probably have voice-activated elements, of course, with Siri close at hand, but would also offer all of the simplicity and power that iOS does for our iPhones and iPads -- but in the car.

With all the technology automakers have crammed into vehicles, there's still a desperate need to sort it better, make it more accessible, and distract us less. If there was ever a software company to do that, it's Apple, and it could be the feature to truly set its car apart from the rest of the pack. 

Foolish final thoughts
Releasing an Apple car will be no small feat for the company, and there are more than a few reasons why the car might fail, or even fail to launch. But if the iEverything maker does bring its car to market, it definitely has the potential to be a success -- and to bring Apple into a new era of innovation.

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