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The Apple car's apparent death is another grim sign for EVs

Hayley Peterson,Nora Naughton   

The Apple car's apparent death is another grim sign for EVs
  • Apple is reportedly abandoning its vehicle project after a decade of development.
  • It would be the latest casualty in the brutal EV market.

The Apple car is dead (apparently).

The scrapped plans would be a grim sign for the EV market in the US, which has suffered from flagging demand. Apple has been working on its electric car for 10 years and is now dropping the project before ever even releasing a prototype, Bloomberg reported this week.

Apple's reported decision comes amid an EV reckoning in the US.

As BI reported earlier this month, car companies are rethinking EV plans in response to softening demand for pure electric cars. While this softening demand is happening globally, it is most pronounced in the US, where EV adoption has always lagged.

Even the world's leading EV maker, BYD, said this week it doesn't want to touch the US market.

"We're not planning to come to the US," BYD Americas CEO Stella Li told Yahoo Finance. "It's an interesting market, but it's very complicated if you're talking about EVs."

Li contrasted the slowdown in EV adoption in the US to the Chinese EV market, where more targeted government funding and regulations have made it so automakers not investing in EVs are "out, you will die, you have no future. "

Apple's "Project Titan" car was also supposed to be an autonomous, expensive technology that most car companies have already put on the back burner.

Automakers shift EV plans

Like Apple, US auto companies have been shifting plans to account for softer EV demand. Most recently, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said the company would begin to rely on hybrid sales in North America, and Sweden's Volvo said it was pulling future funding from its EV company, Polestar.

This comes after Hertz's surprise decision in January to dump a third of its EV fleet.

Part of the pressure automakers are feeling comes from a price war triggered by Elon Musk's Tesla.

Musk started discounting some of Tesla's most popular models last year, driving down the average price of EVs — and making it harder for legacy automakers to compete without losing money.

"This is a pretty brutal space," Harald Wilhelm, the chief financial officer of Mercedes-Benz, said on an analyst call late last year. "I can hardly imagine the current status quo is fully sustainable for everybody."