Apple has reportedly green-lit its mammoth project to build an electric car, and it hopes to have a new vehicle on the road by 2019.
The company gave the approval for tripling the 600 employees already working on the project to speed up production, according to a new Wall Street Journal report today, citing multiple unnamed sources.
Apple reportedly has been studying the feasibility of the initiative, dubbed “Project Titan,” for the past year. The WSJ report says Apple does not plan to release a self-driving car, at least not at first. An autonomous vehicle may be part of the company’s long-term plans.
An Apple entry in the smart car market would significantly shake up the auto industry’s slow-moving forays into the space, not to mention create a long-term threat to current smart car darling Tesla Motors.
It will also add to the engineering brain drain that’s already affecting electric and autonomous car development.
Apple has yet to talk publicly about Project Titan.
Reports last February said Apple was engaged in a large electric car project that could eventually involve 1,000 people. The scope of the project, if the reports are correct, has grown considerably.
A more recent report said Apple sat down with the California Department of Motor Vehicles this summer to talk about its autonomous vehicles using California’s roads.
A mid-August report in the Guardian said Apple engineers met in May with officials from GoMentum Station, a 2,100-acre former naval base near San Francisco that is now used as a testing ground for autonomous and connected vehicles.