By Haley Zaremba
After the novel coronavirus tore through communities worldwide and left a path of economic and public health devastation in its wake, many sectors are still struggling to recover. Compared to last year, the unemployment rate in the United States has doubled, the long-term unemployment rate has risen, and more than 8 million U.S. residents have slipped under the poverty line since last summer. But despite all of the signs of economic distress on the ground and in our communities, the stock market has been going strong – really strong. In fact, at the same time that many were slipping into poverty, a stock market going gangbusters was creating a new club of hundred billionaires, with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos leading the way.
2020 was, in fact, a year for the record books for Musk, who even briefly overtook Jeff Bezos as the richest man on Earth after Tesla Inc.’s stock market value gained over 700% in a single year and then received an extra boost thanks to the market buzz created by the electric vehicles company’s admittance to the S&P 500. While Tesla has had a bit of a volatile ride in recent months, Tesla’s stock appears to be back and hotter than ever. And that bubble is likely not anywhere close to bursting as EV markets look forward to a huge boom in the coming months and years.
Green energy and EV stocks have already been experiencing record-breaking investment numbers as Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing becomes increasingly mainstream. And now EVs have gotten a major boost from President Joe Biden’s massive new infrastructure initiative. $174 billion of the $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs proposal unveiled last week will go directly to supporting electric vehicles. “That money will help pay for 500,000 electric vehicle chargers over the next decade,” Vox reported this week. “It also covers modifying factories to build electric vehicles (EVs), grants and tax incentives to encourage buyers, and shoring up a domestic supply chain to make electric cars and trucks.”
The writing is on the wall: the EV boom coming down the pike is so major that there’s been speculation as to whether the world even produces enough energy to support it. So it makes sense that anyone who’s anyone wants in on the EV game. Chinese tech companies including Huawei and Xiaomi are working on their own battery-powered electric vehicles, and now the latest buzzworthy proposed entry to the EV market came this week from none other than Tim Cook, who dropped hints about the much-anticipated Apple Car in a recent episode of Kara Swisher’s Sway podcast for the New York Times.
It’s been an open secret that Apple has been working on an electric car with highly advanced autonomous technology for a while now thanks to patent leaks, but now the Apple CEO has finally publicly acknowledged the project. While Cook opted not to specify whether Apple is working developing its own electric vehicle or the technology within a car, he remarked in the interview that he has great “admiration and respect” for Tesla, although he has never personally spoken with Elon Musk.
What we do know, according to Car Buzz, is that “after failing to strike a deal with Hyundai and Nissan to manufacture the car, Apple is now reportedly in talks with Magna, an auto parts supplier based in Canada that is building the Fisker Ocean.” We also know that the Apple Car is going to be extremely technologically advanced. In his Sway interview, Cook compared the upcoming car to a robot, emphasizing the importance of the vehicle’s autonomy technology. “We love to integrate hardware, software, and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that’s where the magic occurs,” he said. “And we love to own the primary technology that’s around that.”
While we’re still a little light on the details, it seems clear that Apple will not be satisfied to enter the already booming EV market with a car that’s indistinguishable from the rest. When the Apple Car is finally unveiled, it’s going to be a futuristic vehicle designed to compete in a league of its own.