Investing in the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) Electric Car

Apple's Electric Car Will Make You Feel Pretty

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted July 23, 2015 at 11:42AM

applecarSo is Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) building an electric car or not?

The Wall Street Journal fed this fire yesterday after reporting that Apple hired another auto industry veteran.

Doug Betts, who led global quality at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV until last year, is now working for the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant but declined to comment on the position when reached Monday. Mr. Betts’ LinkedIn profile says he joined Apple in July and describes his title as “Operations-Apple Inc.” with a location in the San Francisco Bay Area but no further specifics.

Apple declined to comment on the new hire. It’s not immediately clear whether he is part of the company’s car initiative or if he will work on an existing product line.

Along with Mr. Betts, whose expertise points to a desire to know how to build a car, Apple recently recruited one of the leading autonomous-vehicle researchers in Europe and is building a team to work on those systems.

I have little doubt that Apple is actively pursuing an electric vehicle strategy, but whether or not the strategy involves actually producing electric cars is still up for debate.

It’s no secret that Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Apple have had private meetings where I’m sure some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players sat around a conference room trying to decide where to invest their mountains of cash next.

But when it comes to electric vehicles, I don’t believe for a second that these guys are just looking to manufacture new vehicles. It’s much bigger than that.

Internal Combustion Blues

Manufacturing quality electric cars is no longer some lofty goal. That goal’s been reached, and surpassed. The next step is proliferation.

You see, internal combustion vehicles didn’t become ubiquitous the moment the first Model T rolled off the line. It took time. It took investments in infrastructure, support industries, and marketing.

It took rapid developments in technology that enabled these vehicles to travel longer distances and in a much safer manner. And from the integration of better breaking systems to windshield wipers, the evolution of the internal combustion vehicle has never really stopped.

Even today, new technologies that allow these vehicles to use less fuel or allow drivers to use GPS systems to avoid accidents are wonderful advances.

Yet there’s still one hurdle that internal combustion vehicles can never overcome - and that’s their dependence on oil. And as it turns out, it’s that dependence that has left the internal combustion vehicle vulnerable to the will of super smart tech geeks with loads of money and a desire to make the world a better place.

In the future, it won’t just be electric cars that’ll be taking us from point A to point B. It’ll be electric cars that will …

  • Deliver 500-mile ranges with a single charge
  • Drive autonomously
  • Be connected to solar-powered charging stations
  • Serve as back-up generators for your home or office
  • Tell you how pretty you are

Ok, maybe the last one went a bit too far. But my point is this …

While rumors of Apple building an electric car continue to churn out excitable Apple disciples and electric car zealouts, I’m more excited to see how Apple works with its fellow tech gate keepers to completely transform the personal transportation paradigm.

It’s going to be amazing!