Will Apple Make Electric Cars?

My wife and I really enjoy driving our Ford C-Max Energi.  It’s the focus of this site.  However, it is really interesting to me that in the past few days, there’s been publications in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters and 9to5Mac about Apple creating a large team of employees working on an electric minivan.

The Wall Street Journal first reported this less than a week ago on February 13th.  According to the Journal, Apple is designing an electric minivan.  The car project lead is Steve Zadesky, a former Ford Engineer, who lead teams to create the iPod and iPhone.  The Journal said Mr Zadeskey was given the permission to create a 1,000-person team.  The Journal also said Apple hired Johann Jungwirth, who was the former president and chief executive of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development in North America.

Reuters published an article the next day, February 14th, that added Apple was working on self-driving and autonomous-driving electric cars.  It also said that Apple is recruiting experts in robotics.

Today, Bloomberg reports that Apple wants to start production of an electric car as early as 2020.  The article said that A123, a battery maker for electric vehicles, sued Apple because it is “poaching” their employees.  According to the lawsuit, this aggressive campaign to hire their employees started in June 2014.  The lawsuit also claimed, “Apple is currently developing a large-scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123.”  The hiring of A123 employees started with former Ford engineer, Mujeeb Ijaz, who founded A123’s Venture Technology division researching materials, battery cells, and advanced concepts.  After starting at Apple in June, he hired other A123 employees according to Bloomberg.  Bloomberg also noted that Tesla’s Elon Musk complained this month about Apple offering $250,000 signing bonuses and 60 percent salary increases to hire away Tesla’s employees.

Also today, 9to5Mac reports many new hires at Apple.  Robert Gough, started in January from a company designing safety systems including airbags, radar and night vision.  David Nelson, a Tesla engineer that left and started at Apple this month.  At Tesla, he served as a mechanical engineer leading a team responsible for modeling, prediction and verification of motor and gearbox performance and efficiency.  Pete Augenbergs, an Apple employee since 2008 that formerly worked for Tesla, is a product design manager on the team.  Hugh Jay, a transmission and mechanical design engineer.  New hire, John Ireland, was a senior power train test engineer at Tesla since October 2013.  Previously, he worked for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on battery technologies to improve energy storage. Another new hire is David Perner, a Ford engineer that worked on “hybrid vehicle calibration, new vehicle launch, design and release…”  Perner worked on an upcoming hybrid Ford F-150.  9to5Mac reported the details of many more new hires on the Apple vehicle team.

The hybrid and plug-in vehicle market is definitely getting interesting.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying our Ford C-Max Energi.

Will GM “Crossvolt” Compete with Ford C-Max Energi?

There’s plenty of speculation lately that GM will announce a new “Crossvolt” in addition to the 2016 Volt at the Detroit auto show on January 12th, 2015.  In 2010, Chevrolet showed a concept Volt called the Volt MPV5 with the Volt’s drivetrain.  A similar vehicle was spotted testing alongside Volts in 2013.  There really isn’t much information, just speculation.  I’ve included three photos of the 2010 concept Volt from GM.

Chevrolet Volt MPV5 Concept

Chevrolet Volt MPV5 Concept

Chevrolet Volt MPV5 Concept

Chevrolet Volt MPV5 Concept

Chevrolet Volt MPV5 Concept

Chevrolet Volt MPV5 Concept

Just Two Weeks Left to Buy A Charger and Get Federal 30% Tax Credit

There is a tax credit for installing a charger (EVSE) that will expire on December 31st, 2014, assuming President Obama signs HR 5771 that was passed on December 16th, 2014.  This tax credit is applicable for chargers for the C-Max Energi but also other plug-in vehicles, such as the Chevrolet VoltNissan Leaf, and Prius Plug-in Hybrid.  If you missed out on this tax credit in 2013 and bought a charger this year, it applies to any purchase and installation in 2014.  The tax credit is for the purchase and installation costs, so quick action is required.  The tax credit expires after December 31, 2014 – you have less than two weeks if you didn’t buy a charger and install it in 2014 already.  There are several J1772 Level 2 choices at HomeDepot.com.  Some states, such as Maryland, have tax credits or rebates for buying and installing an EVSE too.

Many questions about charging the C-Max Energi are answered in the blog, “Common Electricity Questions for the C-Max Energi.”

The charger tax credit is in Internal Revenue Code Section 30C.  This credit expired on December 31st, 2011 formerly.  It was extended through December 31st, 2013 in the Fiscal Cliff Bill on page 63, lines 14 through 21.  It was just extended through December 31st, 2014 (unless the President doesn’t sign the legislation, as far as I know, that isn’t likely).

Enhanced by Zemanta