In a video interview with Bloomberg, Nest founder Tony Fadell says that he and Steve Jobs had toyed with the idea of building a car back in 2008, when Fadell was a senior executive at Apple and the iPhone was gaining momentum. "We had a couple walks, and this was in 2008, about if we were to build a car, what would we build? What would a dashboard be? What would seats be? How would you fuel or power it?" he says.
It's unclear exactly how seriously Fadell and Jobs took the idea, but it would appear that it never progressed beyond a couple conversations. Of course, Jobs ultimately decided to punt on it — "At the end, it was always like, we're so busy, we're so constrained... it'd be great to do it, but we can't," Fadell says. But rumors are now pointing to new efforts at Tim Cook's Apple to put a car on roads before the decade is out, possibly as early as 2019 with a fully electric powerplant and a mix of autonomous technology.
It's probably for the best that Apple didn't try to get into the market seven years ago: it's pretty difficult to imagine Apple making a traditional gasoline-powered car, and battery technology for electric vehicles is still improving considerably. Affordable current-generation EVs typically get fewer than 100 miles between charges, but new vehicles on the horizon — the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt, to name two — are expected to pass the 200-mile mark.