Electronics and design giant Apple is setting its sights on a 2019 launch for its own range of electric vehicles (EVs), according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The US news outlet reported an interview with an anonymous source yesterday, in which it said that the project to build an Apple-branded car is considered a “committed project” by the company.
Apparently codenamed ‘Titan’, the project is being worked on by a 600-strong team. According to WSJ, permission has been given internally for that number to be tripled.
WSJ said that unanswered questions remain. Firstly, Apple has previously outsourced manufacturing of its flagship iPads and iPhones, while this is a strategy far less common in the automotive industry, leading the WSJ to ponder whether Apple had manufacturing partners lined up already.
The article called the 2019 target date “ambitious”, citing an expected process of design and prototype construction, a “litany of tests” and passing the necessary regulations. WSJ even said there were doubts within Apple that the target date could be met, citing a source “familiar with the matter”.
WSJ did also report, however, that with 2019 given as the shipping date for the cars, this might not mean an actual commitment to getting the cars to customers and on the road by that time. In Apple circles, it said, “shipping date” often just means the date by which engineers are ”ready to sign off on the product's main features”.
To date, the company has often found its enthusiastic customers willing to wait to get the latest of its premium products and may not necessarily find this an obstacle to a successful launch. Having said that, the company to which Apple is perhaps most often compared within the tech sector, Tesla, found that shipping automobiles on time was critical. According to anecdotal evidence, Tesla CEO Elon Musk even once shipped parts overseas to meet delayed timelines.
Speaking of Tesla, in February this year Musk told business news outlet Bloomberg towards the beginning of the year that Apple was offering Tesla employees “US$250,000 signing bonuses and 60% salary increases” to leave and join the iPad-maker. Shortly after that, Bloomberg reported that in fact, Tesla had itself been poaching Apple employees to go in the other direction, claiming “at least” 150 workers had joined the EV and now stationary energy storage maker.