Apple has been secretly working on building its own car, reports say, and the company is pushing its people to get the car ready for production as early as 2020.
So says a new report from Bloomberg, citing sources close to the situation. The five-year development timeline is well less than that of most automakers, which usually take up to seven years to design a new model. And those are companies with lots of experience building cars.
A report last week said that Apple now has “hundreds of employees” working on the project, which CEO Tim Cook apparently approved a year ago. The project — dubbed “Titan” — could end up involving as many as 1,000 Apple employees, the report said.
Bloomberg speculates that Apple may be trying to hurry into the market to compete with Tesla and General Motors Co., which are targeting a 2017 release of an electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000.
Apple’s automotive aspirations have been slowly leaking out in recent weeks, as the company has sought to poach engineering talent from rival Silicon Valley company Tesla Motors and others.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently claimed that Apple had been offering his engineers 60 percent increases on their pay, along with $250,000 signing bonuses.
Apple has already recruited Johann Jungwirth away from his position as head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley R&D unit, according to 9to5Mac.
Apple, flush with cash after a string of great quarters, is looking to enter new markets. But entering the automotive space is counterintuitive and surprising to many. Apple is known for jumping into new technology markets after others have already produced products, but building cars is Apple jumping into a wholly new industry.
Automotive is also a very low margin industry, not the type of business Apple has traditionally gravitated toward.