This year, I think we’ll be taking delivery of our first-ever electric car as a family.

Like many people in the UK, I’ll be taking the opportunity to either purchase or lease the vehicle through my business as a company car (intended partly for domestic use, of course). There are some business and personal tax breaks for doing so which cannot be ignored, and I’m all for doing my bit to make the planet a cleaner place on which to live*.

However, as soon as I start thinking about electric cars, I think ‘Apple’.

This happened on numerous occasions when I reviewed the brilliant Porsche Taycan, and I have a feeling it’s a trend that will continue as I begin the buying journey for my own EV.

Rumours of an Apple car – or, at the very least, some form of automotive technology beyond CarPlay – have been swirling around the internet for years. I’ll get onto whether or not I think any of it holds water later, but in the meantime, it’s fun to dream about what four-wheeled wonder we could get from Tim and co.

The competition is already hotting up, in fact. At CES this year, Sony confirmed its partnership with Honda, which should result in a new EV brand hitting the North American market in 2026.

My search for an electric car

I have relatively simple requirements when it comes to an EV, and, I suspect, they’re no different to most consumers.

Decent range is a must; I don’t want the switch to EV to be constantly marred by range anxiety. It also needs to have access to a reliable charging network for the exact same reason.

I’d like our family EV to have plenty of boot space (front and back) be quick enough off the line and confident enough around corners to make it an enjoyable drive, and I’d like the company behind it to have plenty of experience in producing EVs at scale.

This, inevitably, leads me to one brand: Tesla. And I can confirm that is the likely route I’ll take. In the UK, it’s practically the default choice almost solely because of the Tesla Supercharger network which is, I’m led to believe, far better than any other. Certainly, having experienced genuine range anxiety with the aforementioned Taycan before Christmas, I have no problem believing that.

I am, I think, just about the easiest EV buyer to satisfy – if those simple conditions are met.

I’m also a massive Apple fanboy, therefore it shouldn’t be hard for Tim and co. to satisfy my requirements.

Should it?

What I want from an Apple car

Apple can do nothing about the fact that it has never set foot in the automotive space before. The closest effort is CarPlay, which is nothing more than an in-car entertainment extension of iOS (albeit an admittedly brilliant one). They, therefore, need to earn their stripes in this industry, which won’t be easy.

This means that Apple fails immediately on the ‘plenty of experience in producing EVs at scale’ test for me. But I’m willing to forgo that if they get everything else right.

For all its faults, Apple is rather brilliant at entering a saturated market and revealing how things should be done. While the EV market is far from saturated, it is all over the shop when it comes to charging standardisation and build quality.

With regards to the latter, it’s no secret that there has been some questionable quality control from new entrants to the EV market. Tesla is the most prolific example of this, with owners regularly reporting poor interior quality and even misaligned exterior panels.

In fairness, brands like Tesla don’t have the many decades of experience enjoyed by the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and Volkswagen, who have spent that time perfecting the art of mass-producing quality vehicles. It’s still a hard pill to swallow when you’re spending north of £50,000 on an EV, mind.

So, firstly, an Apple car needs to be of the highest possible quality. I’ve experienced some build quality issues with Apple gear over the years, but while I can just about look past a tiny imperfection on the aluminium casing of my Studio Display, I’d be horrified to discover a misaligned wheel arch on my Apple Car Max Ultra.

As for the charging network, well, that’s a tough challenge to overcome. It’s a mess in the UK; there are countless charging options, unfathomably complicated variations of charging cable, and far too many allegedly available charging stations that turn out to be locked behind company gates. If you’re lucky enough to find a spare charger in a shopping centre car park, you’ll then have to make do with a trickle charge that demands a four-hour shopping trip in exchange for 10% battery.

That won’t be good enough for Apple. It’d be like introducing the iPhone but having to make do with Blackberry, Nokia, and PDA chargers rather than Apple’s own.

Tesla was smart enough to pump huge sums into its Supercharger network and it has paid off. As far as we know, Apple isn’t doing anything like that with its own automotive plans (unless they’re keeping it impressively under wraps). That makes this a conundrum which feels like the linchpin for an Apple car ever seeing the light of day.

As for everything else, I’d give Apple free rein – within reason. We’re still some way off achieving safe autonomous travel, therefore I’d rather they ignored the desire to make that a thing before the world is ready for it. When it comes to in-car entertainment, we’ve already seen a glimpse of the next-generation CarPlay and it looks like one hell of an evolution. That’ll do!

What I DON’T want from an Apple car

While I’d happily give Apple free rein with their own car design and feature set, I would, admittedly, be rather nervous about what else might emerge.

Firstly, there’s the pricing. An Apple-branded car feels expensive before you even attempt to imagine what it could look like or how it might drive. Apple does, after all, have a history of producing expensive, aspirational products which only those with deep pockets can afford.

Thankfully, financing plays a pivotal role in making cars affordable for us mere mortals, but I still worry that an Apple car would sit within the upper echelons of premium travel.

I’d also hate to see Apple try and reinvent the driving experience. Tesla dips its toes in that treacherous water occasionally, and it’s always rather unpalatable. There’s the obvious (and most dangerous) such as full automation, and the less obvious but equally head-scratching such as the Steering Yoke option for certain Tesla models.

Lastly, no silly product deficiencies for the sake of being different, please, Tim. The AirPods Max are a perfect example of a product which is needlessly and pretentiously crippled. Imagine if the same minds at Apple HQ had their wishes granted for an Apple car:

  • keyless entry only (but you must own an Apple Watch Ultra)
  • a brand-new, chamfered-edged door mechanism that looks beautiful but cannot be opened in tight car parks
  • the inability to turn the car fully off because it goes into a ‘sleep mode’ instead, if…
  • …you place the vehicle within its protective pouch rather than your garage
  • Lightning charging only
  • a new type of metallic finish which looks stunning out of the box but which attracts smudges as soon as you start using it (and which cannot be removed)

You may laugh, but I genuinely wouldn’t put some of this stuff beyond Apple.

Final thought: will we ever see an Apple Car?

The most recent Apple Car rumours, courtesy of MacRumors, suggest that ‘hundreds’ of Apple employees are still working on developing an autonomous Apple-branded car.

Anyone who has followed the reported trials and tribulations of ‘Project Titan’, as it’s known internally, will be aware that whatever Apple is working on in the automotive space has endured a rough start to life.

Staff have come and gone. Top execs placed in charge of the project have been let go. Retired Apple bigwigs have been called back from their private beaches to save the day. The strategy for the as-yet-undefined automotive product has been forced to change again and again.

What we know at this moment in time (again, according to the rumour mill) is that this theoretical Apple EV will have a sub-$100,000 price point, possess deep integration with iOS, and offer limited self-driving capabilities on highways.

Will it ever see the light of day?

I don’t think it will, I’m afraid. I still believe that we’re far more likely to see a serious evolution of CarPlay, and that the glimpse we saw of that at last year’s WWDC was just the start. I think Apple is far more interested in revolutionising the underlying tech within as many established car brands as possible.

I just cannot see Apple producing a car with all of the industry red tape, legislation, and dreadful pre-existing charging network to contend with. They’re not good at dealing with stuff that’s out of their control, and the automotive industry represents the pinnacle of that challenge.

Am I wrong? Let me know in the comments!

*yes, I’m aware my other car is a BMW M2.

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