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What if the Apple car plan is something along the lines of
developing an EV skateboard, available in say ‘small’ size and ‘plus’ size. The
skateboard itself has all the necessary structural components needed to pass
crash test requirements and drive the car (steering wheel etc…). That is you
could drive it with no body. I guess it would need some tubular roll-over bars
or frame of some kind. It would come with some kind of Apple OS playing through
a tablet. The skateboard has fixed points at which a non-structural body can be
Apple then follows the Apps model where it signs up people
like Bertone/ Ghia/ ICON/ Pininfarina to design bodies, reverting back to the
coach-built era (the roll-over tubular frame would limit freedom here so perhaps
several tubular frames would be required – ‘low roof’ ‘high roof’ ‘convertible’).
The chassis is the same (bar the two sizes) for coupes/ sedans/ crossovers/ minivans etc…
In the extreme an individual could buy a rolling chassis and plonk a body on it (let’s say Apple gets to verify all bodies like it does Apps).
There is thus no Apple car, there is an Apple chassis, which can be iterated very quickly with new battery tech. The disruption is that it allows these small boutique firms to compete asymmetrically with incumbents since they need very low capital – designing a non-structural body, wheels and seats will be trivial. The car business becomes the bicycle business in a way. The cars can be sold at Apple ‘car’ stores meaning the boutique firms don’t need to worry about distribution or servicing.
These designs could be limited-run, changing constantly (Zara clothing model). Apple would update the chassis/ interface as it sees fit – the “Apps” would still be backwards-compatible as long as the fixing points for the body don’t change. Perhaps they roll out something similar to the supercharger network or simply sign an access agreement with Tesla.