Technology giant Apple may be getting into electromobility. According to media reports, several hundred people are working on a project called Titan, which might be aimed at developing an electric car dubbed iCar. Production could start by 2020.
The Wall Street Journal has cited persons close to the matter as saying that the project leader is former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky, who left Ford for Apple over 15 years ago. Zadesky has permission to build a team of up to a thousand people, according to the Wall Street Journal report. Various media outlets claim that Apple has been selectively hiring automotive engineers and battery experts.
The reports say Apple has already lured staff away from Mercedes-Benzelectric car company Tesla, and battery maker A123, and has been in touch with Austrian automotive supplier Magna Steyr. Observers are speculating on whether Apple intends to build the electric vehicles itself, in cooperation with an automaker or by acquiring one.
Thilo Koslowski of the US technology consultancy Gartner said in an interview with German news magazine Der Stern that he can imagine Apple collaborating with Tesla. Both companies are headquartered in Silicon Valley, both are at the cutting edge of technology, and Tesla has extensive expertise in electric vehicle construction, explained Koslowski.
In addition to pure functionality, Apple also holds a huge fascination for customers, making them ideal partners, he added. Apple would have no problem with the expense of getting into electromobility. While it will take a major investment of time and money to develop an electric car, the company consistently posts multi-billion dollar profits and has vast cash reserves.
An electric vehicle would also fi t well with its green corporate strategy. Apple recently announced it would invest nearly USD 1 billion in a solar power station with a capacity of 130 megawatts to power its new headquarters in Cupertino as well as all of the Apple stores in California