Apple has reportedly hit the gas on its plans to launch an electric car and added another 1,200 employees to the development team, according to the Wall Street Journal. The team working on the electric vehicle has now tripled in size. The reason behind the push? Apple wants to finalize the project in 2019, a full year ahead of the originally-reported 2020 production date.
The Titan electric car project has been in development for several years now, initially given the greenlight by Tim Cook in somewhere around two years ago. A crack team of auto engineers was assembled to begin looking into the feasibility of such an endeavor, though rumors persist that the company is working with BMW and using the i3 as a starting point for this car.
Further work was done under a shell company called “SixtyEight” operating out of Sunnyvale. It’s likely that company is now the home of several electric car battery engineers that Apple poached from A123 systems last year, along with many Tesla employees who jumped ship to work on something more exciting, launching a war between the two possible rivals.
Recently the company started investigating potential test tracks, focusing on one used by many self-driving car makers, indicating that Apple may be nearing the testing stage for a first prototype. The WSJ notes that Apple may not be planning to include self-driving capabilities its first-generation model.
If you’d like to get up to speed on the electric car industry ahead of Apple’s entry, take a detour to EV-focused 9to5 sister site Electrek.