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Apple’s electric car may hit the road in 2019

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.

Related: Apple is planning an auto “intervention,” says Fiat CEO

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.