Recent reports have indicated that Apple may be making a bigger push into the car market, Nissan is again playing with paint and Toyota is trying to make getting around town a little easier.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has hundreds of employees working on an electric car project — codenamed “Titan” — that will reportedly resemble a minivan and would be branded as an Apple product.
But according to a USA TODAY article, Apple may not be working on a vehicle, but rather a fully integrated dash platform to bring more iPhone functionality into new vehicles.
"Apple wants to own the dashboard," says Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies. "It does not want to build a car."
Last year, Apple announced the CarPlay system that brings touch-screen and voice-activated navigation to cars. The company said that many auto manufacturers had signed on to offer the system to consumers, including Honda, Dodge, Chevrolet and Ferrari.
"If Apple was going to make a car, it would be ten times easier to just buy Tesla," Bajarin says. "But Apple doesn't want a single branded experience, it wants Apple in many, many cars."
If you recall, last year Nissan unveiled innovative car paint technology it was working on to make the world’s cleanest cars. Now the company has announced it is experimenting with glow-in-the-dark cars.
USA TODAY reports that inventor Hamish Scott created a product called Starpath, a coating that absorbs the sun's rays during the day and then glows from eight to 10 hours after the sun goes down. Nissan admits it's not the first company to think of glowing cars, but it says the system it's developing is special, and believes the paint job will last on the car for 25 years.
To help address some of the issues of clogged city traffic, Toyota has unveiled its i-ROAD concept vehicle. The i-ROAD is an innovative, three-wheel personal electric vehicle equipped with revolutionary Active Lean technology that emulates the movements of a skier. i-ROAD is designed to be as agile as a scooter, but with the enclosed-canopy comfort of a car.
According to a USA TODAY report:
The entire vehicle is under three feet wide and if you absolutely have to, you can cram a small to medium sized person in the back. It tops out at about 37-miles per hour — pedal to the medal — and can only go about 30-miles on one charge, which means it's for close city driving and not much else. The idea though is not to replace its pioneering hybrid Prius or best-selling Camry, but rather to give people an alternate way to dodge around in clogged lanes like a bike messenger, but with more a "mom van" type safety feel.
While Toyota is currently testing the i-ROAD on the roads of Grenoble, France in a car-sharing pilot program, the company is unsure when, if ever, the vehicle will go on sale or how much it will cost.
Check out this test drive with the vehicle: