Apple is pushing to launch its own electric car by the year 2020, according to a new Bloomberg report citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” The company has been rumored in recent weeks to be working on the project in secret, with some claiming that Tim Cook authorized it as much as a year ago.
Apple has been poaching employees from Tesla Motors, battery technology manufacturers, and elsewhere in an effort to build a team of experts to work on the vehicle, currently codenamed “Titan.” Whether this car will be a self-driving vehicle is still unknown, with some reports claiming that it will and others contradicting that idea. Apple employees have said, however, that it will “give Tesla a run for its money” when it’s released.
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We may have already seen some technology prototypes rolling through New York, San Francisco, and other major cities in recent months—though the vehicles spotted in those areas could possibly be related to a separate mapping project.
2020 is an ambitious goal for this project, giving Apple just six years to learn (or buy) everything it needs to know about building a vehicle. That’s where the recent hiring spree and the past year of team-building come into play, but whether that alone will be enough to push Titan to market just five years from now remains to be seen.
Bloomberg highlights the fact that competitors like Tesla are already aiming to debut sub-$40,000 electric cars capable of getting 200 miles per charge by 2017, giving them a three-year lead on Apple. It won’t be the first time the Cupertino company has been a little late to the party, but with this being the farthest thing from consumer electronics the company has ever attempted, such a lead could give competitors a bigger edge than with previous Apple releases.