Following a report today that Apple was hiring experts from the automotive industry for a new research lab, The Wall Street Journal adds to the story claiming Apple has several hundred employees working on an Apple-branded electric car:
Apple has several hundred employees working secretly toward creating an Apple-branded electric vehicle, according to people familiar with the matter. They said the project, code-named “Titan,” has an initial design of a vehicle that resembles a minivan, one of these people said.
The report adds that CEO Tim Cook approved the project close to a year ago with product design Vice President Steve Zadesky, a former Ford executive, leading the group. The news lines up with rumors that Apple is working on something that will “give Tesla a run for its money.”
Mirroring other recent reports that Apple was poaching experts from the automotive industry, WSJ notes that Zadesky “was given permission to create a 1,000-person team and poach employees from different parts of the company.” Earlier today the Financial Times reported that Apple has hired president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Johann Jungwirth, along with other auto industry execs, to work at a new, secretive automotive research lab. Apple has also been locked in a poaching war with Tesla, attempting to lure away that company’s employees with big bonuses.
Adding to that, the report from the WSJ says the location of the lab is just a few miles from Apple’s HQ in Cupertino and currently includes employees working on “robotics, metals and materials consistent with automobile manufacturing.”
In addition to the new hires and research lab, the report claims Apple has met with contract manufacturers that produce high-end vehicles. Several minivans leased to Apple with camera arrays and other equipment have also been spotted in some major cities over the past few months.