December 2nd, 2019 by Jake Richardson
It’s well known that for a while Apple was working on the development of an electric car. After a couple of years, the project reportedly was shelved. Though, there may still be some people who believe Apple will eventually release an EV.
The Guardian reported that, in 2010, Steve Jobs met with an industrial designer who was working on a prototype for a new, very light, inexpensive car called the V-Vehicle. Upon seeing the vehicle, Jobs made a comment that may have revealed his take on how to work with various components. “Jobs told Thompson to think about emphasizing the plastic rather than disguising it. ‘Let the material be honest,’ he said, noting the dashboard, which was made of fibre-wood, a composite of synthetic resin and wood pulp.”
He made another comment as well that might have demonstrated some aspect, albeit a small one, of his design philosophy. He noted that using only one piece for that dashboard could be the best approach if it “evoked a sense of high precision.”
These two design comments, from nearly a decade ago, seem to almost reference the Tesla Cybertruck’s stainless steel body. It appears to meet the Jobs test for being honest, showing the material around the vehicle for what it is. The steel is not blended with anything else or covered up in anyway. With its sharp lines and geometric shapes, the unique vehicle also appears to have a sense of “high precision.”
Former Apple employee Steve Fadell said he talked about electric car design with Jobs in 2008, “Jobs and Fadell, who had collaborated on the iPod and iPhone, swapped ideas about car designs on multiple occasions. ‘We had a couple of walks,’ Fadell said in an interview with Bloomberg‘s Emily Chang. The pair posed hypothetical questions to each other, such as: ‘If we were to build a car, what would we build? What would a dashboard be? And what would this be? What would seats be? How would you fuel it or power it?’”
In terms of whether or not Jobs would have liked the Cybertruck, his own words may be more telling. “Apple is not about making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well. Apple is about something more. Its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”
By advancing electric vehicle technology, battery systems for electricity storage, and solar power, Tesla is changing the world for the better. Passion is clearly part of the Tesla philosophy as well. Why else would it create, build, and sell electric vehicles that are very fast, very safe, and packed with technology? Why would it build its own EV charging network? Purpose, or contributing to the greater good, fits Tesla’s mission, which is, “… to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
The passion shows in the transcendence of convention and typical expectations. A year or so before the Cybertruck reveal, Elon Musk was quoted as saying, “Well, I can’t talk about the details, but it’s gonna be like a really futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup truck.”
Blade Runner designer and futurist Syd Mead has said, “Science fiction is reality ahead of schedule.” Mead designed backgrounds and vehicles for the film, including the “spinner.” Musk is a known science fiction reader and fan. Blade Runner is obviously a film, but it was based on the science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.
Mead actually responded to an email inquiry about the Cybertruck for CleanTechnica with this comment: “As a long time admirer of Elon Musk, I was truly flattered when I heard the announcement that the new cyber truck to be released by his company would be heavily influenced by the vehicles in the movie BLADE RUNNER. What I witnessed on November 21st went beyond my expectations, as this new vehicle has completely changed the vocabulary of the personal truck market design. The precise intersection of sheer planes and surfaces is not only innovative but stylistically breathtaking. I, for one, love what I see and feel it will influence the look of vehicle designs going forward.” Yes, those are the comments of Syd Mead, Visual Futurist, from Pasadena, California.
Getting back to Apple, the TV commercial titled “1984” that Apple used as an introduction to the Apple personal computer was directed by Ridley Scott, who was also Blade Runner’s director.
Another Cybertruck movie connection was made by Musk on Twitter:
Cybertruck design influenced partly by The Spy Who Loved Me https://t.co/HKBzxFNfzm
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 21, 2019
Does this sound like a man lacking in passion for technology, whether it exists in a physical reality or in science fiction?
You may not agree that Steve Jobs might have liked the Cybertruck. It seems at least somewhat reasonable, though, to speculate that he probably would have, based on Tesla’s passion for technology, strong tendency to not follow established conventions, and evocative allusions.
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About the Author
Jake Richardson Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JakeRsol