Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs had shown a lot of interest in a prototype car way back in the spring of 2010. Named as V-Vehicle, it was lightweight, low-cost and gas-powered thanks largely to the cheap materials.
The prototype car could sell for just $14, 000. Jobs wanted to see the secretive car project. After receiving an email from the Apple’s co-founder, Thompson and the team took the car to Jobs’ house. He offered plenty of advice to the team during the 15 minutes he spent sitting in the car.
“It was May 2010, and Thompson, an experienced industrial designer, had spent two years working on the secretive car project. Their mission was to up-end the car industry by creating a lightweight, petroleum-powered car that used cheaper materials and could sell for just $14,000. And backed by Silicon Valley investors including Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Jobs wanted to see it.” The Guardian.
Made of polypropylene and glass fibre which was unbelievably 40% lighter than steel vehicles, it would cost 70% less to produce.
“Working with designers Tom Matano and Anke Bodack, Bryan Thompson had developed a car body made of polypropylene and glass fibre that was 40% lighter than a conventional steel vehicle and would cost 70% less to produce. The creamy white hatchback had unpainted, upgradable body panels and a “space frame” body, a design technique usually reserved for high-end cars like the Ferrari 360 or Audi’s line of cars.”
Steve suggested Thompson to emphasize on the use of plastic asserting let the material be honest.
“Jobs told Thompson to think about emphasizing the plastic rather than disguising it. “Let the material be honest,” he said, noting the dashboard, which was made of fibre wood, a composite of synthetic resin and wood pulp. He suggested it would look better designed as one piece that “evoked a sense of high precision” – an idea Jobs often returned to with Apple’s chief design officer Jonathan Ive.”
Will Apple’s car, which is currently codenamed as Titan, be very similar to this prototype car? The upcoming Apple Car may likely have plenty of shades from this failed car project.