It appears that a new chapter in the global history of the automotive industry is being written as we speak, with the rapid emergence of the San Francisco Bay Area as a center for worldwide transportation innovation.
While many industry watchers and analysts speculated for years the possibility that Apple might one day enter the industry, the reports pouring in over the weekend from sources that have knowledge of the matter still shocked the world. According to the people that secretly revealed Apple’s latest foray, the $700 billion technology company known for mobile and electronic devices has started late last year working in a secret lab on an electric vehicle, with several hundred people working on the project. “It’s the hot spot of development and that has in a big way spilled into the autos space,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president for forecasting at LMC Automotive, talking about Silicon Valley’s new found influence.
The US-based technology companies are now pushing all forms of transportation – from drones to cars to space ships. They also pioneer new business models – think about Uber or Lyft. Google Inc. is already gearing up to produce its first batch of 100 test vehicles that are both electric and fully autonomous and Facebook has taken an interest in drones.
Then there’s that billionaire entrepreneur and co-founder of Tesla Motors – Elon Musk, the CEO of both the luxury electric automaker and of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. – a company designing and building rockets and space crafts. He also does business with a side-dish of electric storage units – something that links to his Li-Ion battery Gigafactory that’s being constructed in Nevada.