Is the iPhone One of the Essential Auto Parts in Santa Barbara’s Future iCar?

Yes, If Apple Has Its Way

Apple has a problem. It’s a problem every other company in the world would love to have–but a problem nonetheless. They have too much cash. $178 Billion to be exact. CEO Tim Cook is under increasing pressure from shareholders to return that cash to them in the form of new revenues or dividends.

A few years ago, the automotive industry was considered uncrackable. Even selling auto parts in Santa Barbara and other localities was controlled or strongly influenced by the market power of the big three automakers and the Japanese motor companies. Then Tesla entered the fray. They proved that electric cars could be made using a skill set different enough from the old internal combustion engine that a silicon valley engineering skill set became relevant.

So Apple has been secretly working on a car. They want to be in production by 2020, an extremely aggressive time frame. Both GM & Tesla are planning vehicles with electric auto parts in Santa Barbara for 2017 release to go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000.

Steve LeVine, author of “The Powerhouse,” a book about the automotive battery and auto parts industry in Santa Barbara and elsewhere says: “That’s the inflection point — the proving ground — that brings on the electric age. Now you have Apple coming in and this is critical mass. Was GM really going to be able to match Tesla? Apple can.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek this month that Apple was seeking to “Apple is good at developing technology but car making is, and will continue to be, a bricks-and-mortar proposition,” Matt DeLorenzo, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, wrote in an e-mail. “Apple will need a partner, perhaps a Chinese manufacturer, with an infrastructure if it’s going to hit the five-year goal.”