Apple could reportedly make the Apple Car without a big-name automaker as negotiations hit speed bumps

Tim Cook
  • Apple may not pursue a partnership with a big automotive company, Bloomberg reports.
  • The company could use a contract manufacturer to assemble its cars, while sourcing its own parts.
  • Foxconn and Magna International could be likely partners for an Apple Car, per Bloomberg.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple is considering working with a contract manufacturer to find its own car pieces and assemble them, a strategy that wouldn’t involve a partnership with an automotive company, according to a new Bloomberg report from Mark Gurman and Gabrielle Coppola.

If it decides to go that route, the tech company would be employing a similar strategy to its approach to iPhone manufacturing, and one that would leave out big-name car companies, which Apple has been talking to in recent years.

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of speculation regarding which company Apple could choose to partner with in the development of its first car, which is codenamed Project Titan.

In December, Reuters reported Apple was planning to release an electric self-driving car by 2024, but Apple car speculation dates back to 2014.

This year, Apple’s talks with major automakers appear to have reached a stalemate so far, but Bloomberg says contract manufacturers Foxconn and Magna International are top contenders for a potential Apple car partnership.

Apple has been in talks with several companies including Hyundai and Kia. Bloomberg reports the company even met with Ferrari last year, but that the talks didn’t lead anywhere. A deal with a major automaker would require Apple to convince a big-name car company to manufacture a product that could end up being a major competitor to the carmaker’s own offerings, which Bloomberg reports has been a tough sell.

If the tech company employed a similar tactic to its iPhone manufacturing process, it would be able to avoid building its own factories and would be able to source its own material, all while avoiding relying on a potential competitor.

Magna was reported to have been in talks with Apple when the company first expressed interest in creating a car years ago. The manufacturing company also assembles cars for several car companies, including BMW.

On Tuesday, BMW’s Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter told Bloomberg that he’s not worried about competing with Apple.

If the tech company launched an electric car it could cut into other automaker’s margins, including Tesla. The car, entitled “Project Titan” would allow Apple a slice of a $10 trillion market, according to Morgan Stanley.

In January, analysts at Morgan Stanley said an Apple car could also potentially bring financial ruin, especially if the company follows its current business model, which is more vertically integrated than many other car companies.

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The 3 best ice scrapers and snow brushes of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good scraper will effectively remove snow and ice from your car’s mirrors and windows for safety.
  • The Hopkins SubZero is our top choice thanks to its flexible blade, built-in squeegee, and extendable handle.

On far too many frigid winter mornings, scraping snow and ice off of your car is an unavoidable chore. Fortunately, ice scrapers and snow brushes allow you to remove the top layer of snow and then chisel away at the ice coating the windows.

For areas that see huge volumes of snow, you might need a larger snow broom type or find it necessary to invest in a snow cover.

I own four different snow scrapers and while that may sound excessive, it meant I knew what to look for when rounding up the best car ice scrapers and snow brushes below.

Here are the best ice scrapers and snow brushes of 2021

The best car ice scraper overall

hopkinssubzero

The Hopkins SubZero Ice Crusher is an all-in-one removal tool with a flexible blade, built-in squeegee, sturdy snow broom, and extendable handle.

Pros: Sturdy construction, flexible blade, built-in-squeegee, lightweight, comfortable handle

Cons: The ice-crushing teeth are located opposite from the scraper, so you’ll have to flip the tool if you’re crushing and scraping

Winter is unpredictable — one morning you might have a light dusting of snow on your windshield, and the next you could find yourself cracking through ice just to be able to see out of your car. That’s why the  Hopkins SubZero Ice Crusher is our favorite, versatile tool. It combines ice-crushing teeth, a flexible scraper blade, a heavy-duty broom, and a squeegee head to make quick work of clearing everything from frost to heavy wet snow. 

While the SubZero is 51 inches while extended, it collapses into a 32-inch unit, making it easy to store. It features a soft foam grip and weighs less than half a pound — both important details that lessen arm strain when you’re chipping away at stubborn ice. 

The best car brush for deep snow

sno brum

The Auto SnoBrum will help you clear snowdrifts without scratching glass, auto paint, or vinyl wraps.

Pros: Ideal for heavy snow load removal, gentle on paint, long pole provides great reach

Cons: Insufficient for stubborn ice

The Auto SnoBrum is particularly great for clearing off deep snow because of its telescoping handle that can extend from 26-inches out to 46-inches in length, giving users of most heights (and arm lengths) easy access to the entirety of the windshield, hood, and even the roof of most vehicles.

The foam head is sturdy enough not to bend or buckle even as you push against heavy snow load, yet gentle enough not to scratch the exterior of your car — that includes auto paint, window and windshield glass, and even those more delicate vehicle vinyl wraps.

Here’s the catch: This is not a true ice scraper, so for thick, stubborn layers of ice, you’re going to need a different tool with a harder edge. But for snow alone, the SnoBrum is ideal.

The best heated car ice scraper

heated ice scraper

The Perfect Life Ideas Heated Snow Ice Scraper is lightweight, easy to use, and clears your windshield. 

Pros: Reduces effort needed to loosen ice, long power cord, power indicator light

Cons: Rather flimsy plastic housing

There is no magic bullet when it comes to removing ice from your car’s windshield, but Perfect Life Ideas’ Heated Snow Ice Scraper measures up. The heat it generates melts the ice so you’ll spend less time scraping. The unit plugs into the DC outlet (otherwise known as the cigarette lighter) in your car and features a 12-foot long cord that should allow access to all of the windows of your vehicle. Ford Excursions and Chevy Suburbans are possible exceptions, however.

Beneath the scraper, a simple heat coil quickly warms up the tool, helping you to break up and remove ice so you’ll exert less force. 

Check out our other guides to car accessories and snow gear

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Elon Musk says Tesla’s ‘full self-driving’ subscription is ‘for sure’ launching at some point before July, marking a slight delay

Elon Musk
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO.

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company’s “full self-driving” subscription should “for sure” launch before July.
  • This marks a slight delay. Musk tweeted that Tesla was taking some more time to build out the software.
  • FSD is currently available in beta for a one-off $10,000 fee. The subscription price isn’t yet known.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Elon Musk said Monday that subscriptions for Tesla’s “full self-driving” (FSD) feature should be available in the second quarter of 2021 – a slight delay from his earlier prediction.

In response to a Twitter user who asked when the electric car company’s FSD subscription was launching, Musk replied: “Q2 for sure.”

The price of an FSD subscription isn’t known, but Musk said that “buying FSD will still be a better long-term deal than subscription.”

FSD currently costs a one-off $10,000 and is available in beta form to some drivers. It does not make a Tesla car fully autonomous.

It is an add-on to Tesla’s Autopilot – which can brake, accelerate, and steer automatically – and allows cars to park themselves, change lanes, and identify both stop signs and traffic lights. The company released a beta version to some Tesla owners in October. 

The subscription, which allows drivers to pay for Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system in installments rather than the whole package at once, has faced numerous delays

Musk said in Tesla’s third-quarter earnings call in October that the company would release the feature to the public by the end of 2020, per The Verge.

But this got pushed back. Musk tweeted in December that the “full self-driving” package will be rolled out as a subscription in early 2021. Now it looks like it could be postponed until mid-2021, judging by Monday’s tweet.

In a separate tweet, Musk said the reason behind the delay of FSD was that Tesla was taking more time to improve AI in the software.

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Meet the Uber drivers who spent 5 years fighting the ride-hailing firm for basic workers’ rights – and won

Former Uber drivers James Farrar (L) and Yaseen Aslam react as they leave the Employment Appeals Tribunal in central London on November 10, 2017. US ride-hailing app Uber on Friday lost a landmark case in Britain that would give drivers the right to paid holidays and the national minimum wage, lawyers representing the claimants said. Farrar, who brought the test case with fellow former driver Aslam, called Uber's business plan "brutally exploitative". Uber said it will appeal the ruling.
Former Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam leaving an employment appeals tribunal in 2017.

  • Two ex-Uber drivers won a huge legal battle against the taxi app firm over workers’ rights.
  • Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar began the case in 2016, fighting for minimum wage and other rights.
  • Farrar said Uber is being defiant about the ruling but hopes it’ll come to accept it.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Five years after they took Uber to court, two ex-drivers on Friday won a legal battle against the ride-hailing firm.

Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar were part of a small group of drivers who brought the original case against Uber in 2015. Aslam and his colleague Farrar, president and general secretary of the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) respectively, claimed Uber was breaking UK employment law by failing to offer basic worker rights, such as holiday pay and national minimum wage. They won the case.

Uber disputed the claims, saying it acted like other traditional minicab firms and counted its drivers as self-employed contractors. At the time, this meant drivers had minimal protections, including no sick pay and Uber could avoid the costs of paying minimum wage. In 2017, Uber appealed the original ruling and lost.

Uber then appealed the case in the UK’s Supreme Court and the process dragged on into February 2021. Again, the company lost, marking the end of its legal road. The outcome could threaten Uber’s business model in the UK – one of its biggest markets – if it is forced to cough up back pay for thousands of drivers who may bring cases, and if it must pay higher taxes.

The dispute will go back to an employment tribunal, which will decide how much the 25 drivers who brought the case five years ago will be awarded. Aslam believes he’s entitled to between £10,000 and £12,000.

“I was delighted,” he told Insider. “It means a lot. I didn’t just do it for myself, I did it for the workers and drivers. I’m just a driver who spoke up for injustice.”

Aslam, who is based in the UK, worked for Uber between 2013 and 2017. Once, during his time at the company, he says Uber “deactivated” him for organizing a campaign against the company’s treatment of drivers. This meant the company didn’t allow him to access the app to pick up passengers, he said. 

“I’m not anti-Uber and I’m not there to shut Uber down. But the law is there for a reason,” he added. Uber did not respond when Insider asked it to comment on Aslam’s claims of deactivation.

Uber’s business model 

When Aslam first started working at Uber, he said it was good. He earned £50 an hour, got a £10 bonus for each ride, and the fares were higher. Plus, the company “put the drivers first.”

As he continued working for the company, however, the fares got cheaper and the bonuses stopped, he says. After the launch of UberPool, a service launched in 2015 that allows people to split ride costs with another person who is travelling in the same direction, drivers were earning even less, according to Aslam.

Back in 2016, CNN also reported that drivers said UberPool meant more work, but not necessarily more pay. Aslam said drivers have realised that Uber is “hiding behind technology to control workers.”

According to Aslam, Uber’s business model involves mass recruiting and flooding the streets with drivers and cars, while keeping fares cheap to attract customers. This has long been a criticism of Uber and its business model – that the firm, initially funded by huge amounts of private capital, could afford to keep cab fares artificially low at the expense of drivers and the competition.

Although Aslam thinks businesses such as Uber should exist, he said they “rely on exploiting people and they go for a mass scaling model and I think it’s wrong.” He believes the customer should take some responsibility in the pricing as there’s a human cost involved: “There’s someone behind that wheel and they need to have rights.”

The case still isn’t over

“The devil is in the details now,” Farrar told Insider. He said Uber is being defiant about committing to implement the ruling.

After the recent ruling, Uber was quick to point out that it only applied to the group of 25 drivers who brought the case in 2016. It also said the ruling was specific to how Uber’s business operated when the drivers initially filed a lawsuit, and that the business has since changed.

“Uber is trying to spin a line to drivers that this ruling only applies to the original claimants and not to all drivers,”  said Farrar, who worked for Uber between 2015 and 2016. “Not only is it untrue but it’s demonstrably contrary to the spirit of the ruling.”

He hopes Uber is just going through “a stage of emotional grief and denial” and that it will accept the ruling. But if not, he said the government and regulator Transport for London (TfL) needs to step in. 

Claims against Uber are already piling up

If the government doesn’t enforce the law and TfL doesn’t step in, Farrar said he and other drivers would have to “pile up litigation” against Uber.

Indeed, thousands of claimants are already making claims against the firm. Nigel Mackay, a partner at Leigh Day Solicitors, said his company currently has 3,500 clients with claims against Uber.

Farrar, who formed an organization called Worker Info Exchange to help app workers like Uber drivers access their data from companies they work for, said these types of claims could become extremely expensive for the taxi app company. He believes there’ll be a cottage industry of lawyers making continuous claims against Uber “because it’s an easy win.”

He added: “It’s embarrassing that the poorest people on minimum wage have to go to the Supreme Court against one of the most powerful companies on Earth.”

Although Uber did not respond to Insider’s request for comment, the company sent a press release shortly after the ruling, featuring a statement from Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe.

It said: “We respect the court’s decision which focussed on a small number of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016. Since then we have made some significant changes to our business, guided by drivers every step of the way. These include giving even more control over how they earn and providing new protections like free insurance in case of sickness or injury.  We are committed to doing more and will now consult with every active driver across the UK to understand the changes they want to see.”

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Mercedes recalls thousands of SUVs over a software error

GettyImages 1231191943

Mercedes-Benz US is recalling thousands of its sport utility vehicles over a program software error that could cause a car to move to one side during a maneuver. The error could increase the risk of a crash, the company said in a filing to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

The company is recalling 41,838 of its cars including certain 2020-2021 GLE450, GLE350 and 2020 GLS450, GLE580, and GLS580 models, according to its filing.

Mercedes-Benz USA didn’t respond to Insider’s question if the error caused material damage or injuries in the US.

The car’s Electronic Stability Program software could apply a twisting force to one of the front wheels, pulling the car to move to one side as it steers.

The software will be fixed free of charge starting April 13, Mercedes-Benz said in the filing.

Earlier this month, Mercedes recalled around 1.3 million cars over an error with its automatic emergency-call system that could send responders to the wrong vehicle location. The car models recalled included CLA, GLA, GLE, GLS, SLC, A, GT, C, E, S, CLS, SL, B, GLB, GLC, and G, the Associated Press reported.

The company told Insider last week that Mercedes-Benz US was not aware of any case of material damage or personal injuries caused by this issue.

In January, Mercedes-Benz revealed its new 2022 EQA 250 crossover, its latest electric vehicle model.

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