In the interest of full disclosure, I think I should mention that no one will ever accuse me of drinking the Apple cool-aid. I do believe that Apple possesses genius – marketing genius that is -and that they have done an incredible job at “building their brand”. How else do you explain why people are willing to spend double or triple what other comparable devices cost, all while being forced into the closed Apple ecosystem?
Apple’s track record on sustainability also leaves a lot to be desired, with outsourcing manufacturing to Chinese sweatshops and turning a blind eye to suppliers’ environmental regulation violations . While they have made improvements in these areas under CEO Tim Cook, they still have a ways to go. So it came as quite a surprise when market research firm Morpace Inc. released a report that according to a recent survey, consumers who own hybrid or electric vehicles have a high level of trust and interest in an electric vehicle that Apple plans to manufacture by 2020.
The survey was conducted among more than 250 U.S. based electric and/or hybrid vehicle owners who are part of the Morpace MyDrivingPower online community. These respondents consistently held the Apple brand in high esteem and more than three quarters of them would be “somewhat likely,” “very likely” or “extremely likely” to purchase an Apple electric vehicle.
Lets take a closer look at the survey in order to help determine if there is really as much enthusiasm for an Apple electric car as they would have you believe. First of all, the number surveyed is ridiculously small. According to the U.S. Energy Administration, there were about 2 million hybrid cars on the road in 2011. The number at present would certainly be more and add to that the number of pure electric vehicles, and the number is even larger. But Morpace thinks that surveying 250 people out of more than 2 million will give them reliable, conclusive data? Not to mention that only 44 percent of those surveyed responded, which means they are basing their conclusions on the opinions of 110 people.
According to the Morpace survey, the vast majority of respondents (79 percent) expect the design of an Apple electric vehicle to “be better” than other electric vehicles. Apparently they forgot about issues such as “Antennagate” where Apple told iPhone 4 owners that their reception problems and dropped calls were because they didn’t know how to hold their phone; the Apple maps fiasco, the ridiculous fragility of iPhone cases made out of glass, to name but a few.
It can certainly be said that electric cars are easier to design and build than hybrid or gasoline vehicles due to the differences in drivetrain and engine/motor complexities. But you have only to look at Tesla Motors, who do not expect to turn a profit until 2020, that entering the automotive industry, even with an electric car, is very difficult. Given Apple’s business model of outsourcing manufacturing to extremely low-cost Southeast Asian suppliers with questionable employee and environmental practices, the task of building a quality electric car seems insurmountable.
I think Morpace’s 110 survey respondents were some of the people waiting in line in this hilarious video!
Tracey is an accountant and entrepreneur with a passion for nature. This passion is what spurred her interest in renewable energy, and the rest is history as they say. Tracey is a principal in Energy Think Group, the publisher of Solar Thermal Magazine and Tek-Think. She is also the principal at Women's Financial Help Desk. She spends her free time in the outdoors with her horses and dogs. She loves to travel.