March 2015

Will 'iCar' by Apple see the light?

The leading automotive story of 2014 was, without a doubt, Google's disclosure of its first ever self-driving/autonomous car model. Here are the latest rumors about the iCar by Apple.

Apple's ability to make gadgets for consumers is, with no doubt, desirable to all ages. Though until now, Apple's plans-to-be are not quite clear. A report says that Apple's firm has put a few hundred people to work on developing an electric vehicle, though other rumors say that Apple is not only working on an electric car, but on an autonomous one. Odd.

First of all, Apple is a high-tech firm that is able to develop any technology. But I can impartially say that they probably don't have any clue about the automotive industry. They are able to produce and develop apps, software, etc… but transmissions, pistons and chassis? That is not their specialization.

Second, road infrastructures are not ready for electric cars. How would autonomous cars run? It would be complete chaos. Autonomous cars have been tested on normal asphalt, sunny weather, in other terms, in very nice weather conditions. Self-driving cars would likely act differently on the snow or ice.

Third, why would a person buy an autonomous car? Uber Taxi are everywhere around the world and thanks to the app, they can pick you up and take you wherever you want.

Fourth, Nissan Leaf, the world's bestselling electric car, sold 40,000 vehicles last year compared to Nissan's vision of 250,000 vehicles. The Tesla is strictly made for a very niche market due to its expensive price tag.

Fifth, what is the point of getting an electric car or even an autonomous car? The whole smart thing is all about the battery (weight and cost); with GM's announcement at the Detroit Motor Show that the second generation Volt will run around 320 km with a price tag of $30,000 USD.

Sixth, the oil prices in our region and even worldwide have already dropped by half. So it's another reason to push the electric vehicles further in time.

So if we consider it logically, Apple's rumors about the iCar are gaining popularity throughout the media and creating a buzz, yet if Apple wanted to build an electric car then it would be pointless in terms of advantage over the automakers. Autonomous cars would be the talk of the town. And even though they have been built, I believe they would only be used somewhere in Silicon Valley to provide services,  such as renting an electric car from one station to another like I did couple of years ago in Paris.

Will the established automakers, not tech companies, win the race to build the vehicles of our future?
Check out our issue, where we bring you some high class drives. Our cover story was exclusively given to us, ArabWheels, and the Middle East market. It is titled "Lamborghini Huracan Winter Ice Driving Academia". Our first drives range from the Chevy Corvette Z06 to BMW X6M and BMW 2 Series convertible.

On a regional basis, I personally attended an exceptional event held by the French firm, Renault, in Abu Dhabi. The electric era is shyly making its appearance and so I drove the Renault Zoe and the Renault Twizy. Mission accomplished.

Relish our March issue and see you next month for some more action!

- Issam Eid, Editor-in-Chief

Cover Story: Lamborhini Huracan Winter Ice Driving Academy



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