Apple Car: Leaked design information suggests it would have been a minivan

The Apple Car was once one of the most anticipated Apple products of all time. For a decade, rumors about Apple’s secret electric vehicle project made headlines in tech publications and Apple blogs.

Then, just weeks ago, came the news that Apple officially murdered the project known as Project Titan. There will be no Apple Car.

Now, Bloomberg‘s Apple insider, Mark Gurman, has some very interesting details about what the Apple Car would have looked like. And, reader, it is not at all as you imagined.

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Apple was working on a minivan

Just try to imagine what an Apple electric car would have looked like. Are you thinking of a potential Tesla competitor? Maybe a sleek, sexy sports car?

You’d be wrong.

According to a report from Apple, Apple was working on a minivan Bloomberg‘s Gurman.

The Apple Car has gone through several design iterations over the decade it was developed, Gurman says. However, they have all been heavily influenced by car manufacturers’ minivan designs over the years.

Volkswagen type 2

Volkswagen type 2
Credit: Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

The original concept for the Apple Car was created by the company’s iconic designer Jony Ive, who left Apple in 2019. That Apple Car design was dubbed the “Bread Loaf” internally at the company. Why? Because it looked like a “modern incarnation” of the 1950s Volkswagen microbus.

If you’re not familiar with the Volkswagen microbus, also known as the VW Type 2 or VW Camper or Vanagon, you almost certainly know what it looks like. It’s the VW van usually depicted as being driven by hippies in the 60s or by touring rock bands of that era. It’s the yellow van used in the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine, starring Steve Carrell, Abigail Breslin and Toni Collette.

A Volkswagen camper-inspired design

Later versions of the Apple Car changed the design slightly, but the old-school, Volkswagen minivan-inspired aesthetic remained.

The second Apple Car design looked “almost identical” to the 2017 Volkswagen ID Buzz prototype, according to Gurman. This EV concept car was also inspired by the VW microbus, albeit with a more modern design, with a sloping hood. Interestingly, Gurman mentions that this Apple Car design came before Volkswagen announced its 2017 prototype.

2017 Volkswagen ID Buzz prototype

2017 Volkswagen ID Buzz prototype
Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Apple Car went through some minor changes over the years before arriving at its most recent design concept in 2020. According to Gurman, that last Apple Car design resembled a vehicle from California-based electric car company Canoo.

The latest version of the Apple Car resembled the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle, which Gurman describes as a “futuristic van with rounded edges.” When you look at the Canoo EV, it certainly looks like something you’d imagine for Apple’s take on a minivan. The front and back of the vehicle would also look exactly the same, so the Apple Car would have always looked like it was moving forward.

Canoo Lifestyle vehicle

The Canoo Lifestyle vehicle.
Credit: Canoe

One of the final design changes for this version of the Apple Car was to trade sliding doors commonly found on minivans for gull-wing doors.

As for the interior, Apple went for a minimalist design with an emphasis on space for the vehicle’s occupants. It could potentially have included TVs and/or iPads for FaceTime and video playback, a special air conditioning system that would flow air through the sides of the vehicle, and a reclining, private jet-like seating design with swiveling front seats.

According to Gurman’s report, Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, were big fans of the latest design. But ultimately the company decided to pull the plug on the Apple Car – and all we’re left with are these reports of what could have happened.

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