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Pedal to the metal: Apple reportedly accelerates Project Titan timeline to 2019, triples development team size


Apple has reportedly hit the gas on its plans to launch an electric car and added another 1,200 employees to the development team, according to the Wall Street Journal. The team working on the electric vehicle has now tripled in size. The reason behind the push? Apple wants to finalize the project in 2019, a full year ahead of the originally-reported 2020 production date.

The Titan electric car project has been in development for several years now, initially given the greenlight by Tim Cook in somewhere around two years ago. A crack team of auto engineers was assembled to begin looking into the feasibility of such an endeavor, though rumors persist that the company is working with BMW and using the i3 as a starting point for this car.

Further work was done under a shell company called “SixtyEight” operating out of Sunnyvale. It’s likely that company is now the home of several electric car battery engineers that Apple poached from A123 systems last year, along with many Tesla employees who jumped ship to work on something more exciting, launching a war between the two possible rivals.

Recently the company started investigating potential test tracks, focusing on one used by many self-driving car makers, indicating that Apple may be nearing the testing stage for a first prototype. The WSJ notes that Apple may not be planning to include self-driving capabilities its first-generation model.

If you’d like to get up to speed on the electric car industry ahead of Apple’s entry, take a detour to EV-focused 9to5 sister site Electrek.

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  1. Justin Stanley - 8 years ago

    Exciting since I’ll be in the market for a new car around then given the state of my current car. :D

  2. Lee Omeka - 8 years ago

    Id rather just have a new 4k monitor from Apple

  3. taoprophet420 - 8 years ago

    They must have struck a deal with BMW or another car company considering the report 2 weeks ago Apple could not get the components on its own to build a car.

    I still would like to see a electric MINI Built by Apple and BMW.

    There is no way Apple without an existing or in development platform from another company could have a car ready in 2019. Most care companies spend about 6 years developing updated models let alone new platforms. Swiping tolling is usually a 2 year job. Look at something like the new F150 ford released last year. It’s no easy task to produce and assemble updated vehicles last alone new ones.

  4. يحي (@aratuk) - 8 years ago

    I hope they bring back the physical click wheel for this. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d be much more comfortable steering with that than the capacitive touch version.

  5. There’s only one nut to crack in the automotive world and it happens to be the same nut that’s holding back almost everything else. Battery chemistry. Lighter batteries, higher capacity, faster charge times, longer lifespans. A lot of items on the check-list.

  6. as long as it’s not a re-worked version of a current car by some automaker i’ll be fine
    we all know that Moto Rockr with iTunes phone was a flop and i don’t want it to happen in the car industry as well. i really want Apple to give Tesla some tough competition and you can only achieve that building a car entirely new

    • gkbrown - 8 years ago

      I’d rather see Tesla release an affordable car.

      • Ilko Sarafski - 8 years ago

        That’s what I just thought and remembered – Tesla is about to release such a car (affordable one) somewhere around 2019. So maybe Apple wants to beat them by showing at least 15% better car (which I guess means 15% better battery life). So maybe that’s the rush! I hope they won’t mess it up…

      • Tesla Model 3 will be introduced in early 2016 and launch is expected 1 year later, that’s still 2 years earlier than Apple

    • alanaudio - 8 years ago

      I don’t think that Apple could make the sort of car it wanted by tweaking an existing car. It seems to me that the only way that Apple can manufacture a truly innovative car would be to pretty well create the whole thing from scratch. That would also mean that they would not be reliant on existing car manufacturers and would be less reliant on conventional car component manufacturers. By starting afresh, they have the opportunity to completely rethink every aspect of cars and how they are manufactured.

      My guess would be that it won’t be built like conventional cars ( which are stamped from metal ), it won’t have much in common with existing cars, but most importantly of all, the financial model will be different. It’s hard to see that they could generate significant profits by pretty well going down the same route as everybody else.

  7. gkbrown - 8 years ago

    Why are people so willing to believe that Project Titan is an actual car, and not simply something car-related?

    • YU No - 8 years ago

      Because it brings clics to news.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      Because Apple is looking for a test track a car. And hiring battery technicians? And poaching Tesla employees? It seems pretty obvious that if they’re doing anything, it’s a whole car, not just one component. There’s not a consumer market for a single component, and Apple doesn’t do B2B products, so they’re not developing it to license to Telsa or anyone else.

    • alanaudio - 8 years ago

      Because if you look at what car manufacturers say, they are opposed to having a car operating system designed by Apple or Google. They want to keep total control of it themselves, even if they can’t get close to matching Apple or Google’s expertise. The CEO of Daimler ( Mercedes ) said that at the Frankfurt Motor show last week.

      It’s that type of hostility from the industry which will mean that Apple can’t simply provide the ‘brains’ of a car. That sort of hostility is also what will give Apple the opportunity to disrupt the auto industry as the industry has made it quite clear that it’s not an option to allow Apple to work as an equal partner

  8. Ilko Sarafski - 8 years ago

    If Apple does a brand new car, that would be huge! And awesome! But probably it will suck, at least until iCar ver. 3! :D But what’s more important here is that they’ll be the only real possible competitor of Tesla. Only they have that money/engineering power to do so. So that’s really, really interesting. If Apple make such a car, the whole auto industry will change because Apple has x100 of Tesla’s money, ergo, they’ll be able to produce more car and make the e-car much more desirable, affordable and probably – even cooler! So what I am looking for here is the potential battle between the two! It would create so much cool things!

  9. samuelsnay - 8 years ago

    If it’s anything like iPad Pro, it’ll do exactly what older model cars do, not offer half the functionality of the latest and greatest cars, and it’ll be sold with the steering wheel and brake pedal sold separately.

  10. shaman1981 - 8 years ago

    Will they make the cars 30% smaller each yeat?

  11. The timing of this news obviously has everything to do with TDI-gate.