Although Apple’s penchant for secrecy means it’s likely to be some considerable time before we hear anything official from the company about an electric car, a steady stream of leaked information over recent months suggests there’s little doubt that it is actually working on such a project.
The latest tidbit regarding the tech giant’s automotive ambitions comes via the Wall Street Journal, which on Monday reported 2019 as Apple’s target date for unveiling its much-talked-about electric vehicle.
Unnamed sources claiming to have knowledge of Apple’s inner workings told the Journal the car plan has now been designated as a “committed project” with a “target ship date for 2019.”
Team size set to triple
Codenamed Project Titan, it seems Apple’s electric car team is preparing to push forward in a big way, having apparently secured permission from executives to increase the number of people working on the project from 600 to 1,800.
Despite a report over the weekend revealing that Apple executives had recently met with officials from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) – the agency that takes care of rules and regulations for the testing of self-driving cars on California roads – as well as reports that Apple has hired engineers with specialized knowledge of driverless technology, the Journal’s source says the 2019 vehicle will not be fully autonomous. Such a vehicle could, however, come later.
Further evidence pointing to Apple’s electric car ambitions came last month after documents emerged revealing the company is searching for a private site to test its rumored vehicle.
And in July it hired Doug Betts, former quality control chief at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The auto industry veteran spent a total of 21 years in similar roles at Nissan, Toyota, Michelin, and General Motors, strongly suggesting his new role at Apple has less to do with the next-generation Apple Watch and more with a large battery-powered transportation contraption.
Yes, it’s fair to say that the idea of Tim Cook one day appearing on stage alongside an Apple car now looks more likely than not.