Apple isn’t collecting auto experts for fun. The Wall Street Journal, building off a report from the Financial Times, claims Apple is building an honest to goodness electric car. Apple’s version of the Tesla. For real.
Like earlier reports have said, Apple has “hundreds” of employees earnestly working on an “Apple-branded minivan-like electric vehicle,” which was given the green light nearly a year ago. Maybe it was one of those products Tim Cook teased hadn’t even been rumored about.
The mysterious car has apparently been codenamed Project Titan. That’s a strong, powerful name. It has purpose, it demands respect. It’s… just a car. What the final name will be—maybe just Apple Car—when it launches is unclear. Scratch that: it probably won’t launch at all.
The WSJ cautions that Apple’s plans for an electric car could change between now and, well, forever.
Apple may decide not to proceed with a car. In addition, many technologies used in an electric car, such as advanced batteries and in-car electronics, would be useful to other Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad.
The report goes on to say that it’s common practice at Apple to build multiple prototypes for a project that won’t ever go on sale to the public. “Any product would take several years to complete and obtain safety certifications,” WSJ warns. Still, Apple has reportedly flown executives to meet with contract manufacturers in Austria.
Apple has allegedly appointed Steve Zadesky, who is a former Ford engineer, to lead the project. Zadesky has reportedly been given free reign, too, with permission to create a team upwards of 1,000 people, WSJ said. We’ve been hearing Apple is actively poaching folks from companies like Tesla to work on a once in a lifetime opportunity. Project Titan could be it.
One of the project’s largest hurdles is the expense of manufacturing cars. WSJ points out that a single plan can cost well over $1 billion, and requires incredible supply chain resources to produce the components. Apple has proved incredibly adept at controlling the supply chain for electronics, but it would be a completely different ballgame for cars. Even Elon Musk, the darling creator of Tesla, admitted that making cars is “really hard.”
Apple has tiptoed in the automotive industry with CarPlay, but that could just be the beginning of something much larger. Imagine what the Genius Bar appointment would be like for the Apple Car.