Apple car to ship by 2019, say reports
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that Apple has internally committed to its electric car project – code-named Project Titan – and has set a target "ship date" on the product for 2019. In addition, according to the WSJ, leaders of the project have been given permission to triple their team members, currently numbered at 600 employees.
This latest news comes on the heels of a report late last week from AppleInsider that the company had met with the California Department of Vehicles last month. According to the report, the meeting included co-sponsors of the state’s autonomous vehicle regulation project, suggesting that the Apple project could be ready for testing on the open road.
While the Apple car now appears to clearly be more fact than rumor, further important details remain open to speculation. For example, will the car be both electric and autonomous, or just the former? According to the WSJ, Apple "doesn’t currently plan to make its first electric vehicle fully autonomous."
Additional speculation revolves around whether Apple would manufacture the car itself or partner with an existing auto maker. The company is known for wanting complete control over its products, and there are questions surrounding its intended use of 43 acres of undeveloped land in San Jose it purchased in August.
But the company is also said to be considering using BMW’s i3 electric car as a basis for its car project. The two companies have been communicating, and Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, reportedly visited BMW’s electric car facility in Leipzig last year along with several Apple senior managers.
Some analysts have even suggested that an Apple acquisition of Tesla, although seen as unlikely, could not be ruled out. In the meantime, according to AppleInsider, the number of Tesla employees leaving the car maker for Apple’s vehicle group has been significant enough to affect Tesla’s product planning schedule.