Not long ago, Steve Jobs was fascinated by a car known as the V-vehicle. This was a car that was designed by a man names Bryan Thompson. Jobs was so intrigued that the two actually met. Some say this may have been the beginning of Job’s intentions to make an Apple Car.
In 2010, Thompson was working on a secret car prototype, backed by venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers, that would be able to be made very cheap due to innovative materials. It was a very modern vehicle in many aspects, but still ran on gasoline. Thompson got an email that read “Steve Jobs” in the subject line. Quickly, he was on a plane traveling to meet Jobs.
Thompson and the others that were working on the project with him visited Jobs at his home near Palo Alto. They drove the car to his house and planned to take him for a ride. However, Jobs insisted everyone except Thompson exit the vehicle and he took the driver’s seat himself.
The car was primarily made of what seemed to be plastic. It was a special composite material made of polypropylene and glass fibers. Noticing this, Jobs figuratively talked Thompson’s head off regarding plastics and plastic technology. Jobs spent the drive telling Thompson the ins and outs of the vehicle by his standards. Thompson said:
“He didn’t spell out the solutions; that’s what I do. But the sensibilities and feeling resonated with me deeply and I took that moment of high energy buzz to get that sensibility into the interior. “
Many of the concepts and materials of the V-vehicle are incorporated into the cars of today. BMW uses fibre-wood (synthetic resin and wood pulp) and Tesla is working on super lightweight interiors to reduce weight due to heavy batteries. Other concepts will likely be employed in the Apple Car. The Guardian stated:
“Apple will take big design risks with its vehicle, and its approach is likely to encourage more innovation from traditional car firms as they try to defend their market share. Thompson has already started work on designs for the cabins of self-driving cars. He thinks that when people no longer have to watch the road they will face each other, picnic table-style. The shift in design, he says, is towards openness, meaning more ‘architectural shapes, exposed cabins, low belt lines and lots of glass'”.
The V-vehicle never came to fruition, primarily due to funding. Apple surely won’t have the same problem.
In 2015, a company called LCV Capital Management bought the V-vehicle prototype and all the R & D associated with it. The plan is to use it to release the first production model in Italy. The vehicle was renamed Next Autoworks, run by Tony Bonidy, a former director at Steve Job’s NeXT computer.
Overall, Jobs was just very excited to see this new, secret car. Perhaps because he was planning on having his own Silicon Valley, secret car project in the near future. Although Apple is doing a fair job of keeping the details of Project Titan a secret, like the V-vehicle, it’s next to impossible to keep a secret in the tech world today.
Source (The Guardian)