Electric car Stories January 22, 2016

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the Apple veteran employee who has been overseeing the company’s “Project Titan” electric car initiative is leaving the company. The report, citing “people familiar with the matter,” says Steve Zadesky, who has been with Apple for 16 years, is leaving the company for “personal reasons.”

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Electric car Stories November 9, 2015

faraday-future-rear-view-teaserLast week on our sister-site Electrek, we reported on Faraday Future (FF), a well-funded California-based startup looking to invest $1 billion to build an electric vehicle factory in the US. Due to the company refusing to disclose its CEO or investors, some media outlets have been reporting that it could be a front for Apple’s Project Titan.

But it isn’t likely for Apple to have any involvement with the company since everything points to it being backed by the Chinese technology company LeTV. expand full story

Electric car Stories October 22, 2015

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At this point the fact that Apple is working on an electric vehicle is all but confirmed. Recent reports show that Apple is searching for a private road-testing site, hired hundreds of workers with automotive industry experience and the company allegedly discussed licensing some technology from BMW. Officials within Apple have yet to confirm the ambitious new product, but CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that the automobile industry is ripe for disruption and it is difficult to imagine them backing out at this point.

The electric car is reportedly codenamed ‘Project Titan’ and it is indeed a project of titanic proportions. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently made some comments warning the Cupertino company of the complexity of manufacturing cars. Those comments were surprisingly met by mockery from a lot of Apple fans. I think Apple can and will make an electric vehicle, but I’d like to put the project into perspective.

Read the full op-ed on our sister site Electrek.co

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Electric car Stories September 21, 2015

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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.

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Electric car Stories September 18, 2015

Apple-Car-red-jony-ive

The Guardian is reporting that Apple legal representatives met with California’s department of motor vehicles to discuss regulations about self-driving cars. On record, the DMV told The Guardian that “the Apple meeting was to review DMV’s autonomous vehicle regulations”. This news follows reports that Apple is searching for a private road-testing site for its ‘Apple Car’ electric vehicle project.

More interestingly, The Guardian claims to have obtained documents that suggest the Apple Car is close to leaving the lab as the project deemed ‘Project Titan’ has now an official Engineering Program Manager. When a project gets an EPM, it typically means a product is entering the next stage of development and finishing testing stages.

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Electric car Stories July 23, 2015

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An SEC filing by Apple shows that the company plans to increase this year’s spend on product development by $1.5B, reaching a total of $5.9B by the end of September, reports Business Insider. At the same time, Apple is cutting its forecast capital expenditure by $1B, which the company told the WSJ was due to efficiency savings.

A company spokeswoman said Apple lowered the forecast because it was able to spend more efficiently for tooling equipment and facilities. “There are no changes in our product plans,” she said.

Apple explores a great many potential new product ideas, and the increased spend on product development could conceivably indicate that the company is choosing to invest more heavily in one of these, BI speculating that it may be the long-rumored Apple car …  expand full story

Electric car Stories May 13, 2015

Tesla has taken its recruiting of Apple employees to the next level: the electric car and energy company has hired away Apple’s Senior Director of Corporate Recruiting, Cindy Nicola, to become Tesla’s new Vice President of Global Recruiting. Nicola has already noted her new role and start month of May on her LinkedIn profile.

Notably, Apple actually hired away Tesla’s Lead Recruiter in 2014 for its own electric car project, as we noted in our extensive profile of Apple’s automotive related hires. Interestingly, that former Tesla recruiter Lauren Ciminera has already left Apple to work on a new “confidential” project, according to her own LinkedIn page and confirmation from a source…

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Electric car Stories March 5, 2015

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BMW has denied a report in the German car magazine that it is developing or building a car for Apple, but not responded to a claim suggesting that Apple may be developing an ‘operating system’ for its i3 electric car.

Auto Motor Sport claimed that Apple was in discussion with BMW about the possibility of developing an electric car based on the BMW i3, following numerous reports that the Cupertino company plans to develop an Apple Car. However, Reuters reported shortly afterwards that BMW had denied this.

German carmaker BMW said on Thursday its talks with technology giant Apple did not involve developing or building a car, denying a German magazine report.

BMW did confirm that it was holding “regular talks” with Apple on “topics like connected vehicles,” offering no comment on the idea that Apple may be working on an ‘operating system’ for the car …  expand full story

Electric car Stories February 20, 2015

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What a difference a couple of weeks can make. We knew on February 5th that Apple was offering quarter-million dollar signing bonuses to Tesla engineers to persuade them to jump ship, but the idea that the company planned to make a car was just a vague rumor. Fast-forward a fortnight and it’s now being treated as established fact.

Our own exclusive reporting on the sheer range of automotive hires by Apple makes it clear that the company is, at the very least, seriously investigating the possibility, with a 1,000-strong team reportedly approved by Tim Cook. And while we need to bear in mind the cautionary note in Seth Weintraub’s piece that there’s a big difference between an R&D project and a real, live product, at this stage an Apple car seems more likely than not.

But if Bloomberg is right that Apple plans to launch a car by 2020, I think it’s important to recognize what form that car will and won’t take (spoiler: it won’t look like the above) …  expand full story

Electric car Stories February 19, 2015

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In the last few weeks we’ve heard about a poaching war between Apple and Tesla, a couple hires by Apple from the auto industry, and a whole lot of speculation followed by reports that Apple has a team of hundreds working on an electric vehicle. But who exactly is working on the project at Apple?

We can learn a lot about the scope of the research Apple is doing from the talent on the team, so we’ve talked to our sources and compiled a list of some key employees Apple has hired and assigned to the project. 

A couple things we learn from the hires: Evident by this long list of automotive experts, it’s clear Apple’s ambitions go well beyond just its iOS-based CarPlay in-dash system. Well beyond software too, as many of the names below are hardware engineers coming from Tesla, Ford and other notable automotive related areas. In fact, the majority of employees on this list that are reporting to team leader Steve Zadesky come from an automotive hardware background and many only joined Apple recently or around the time Cook reportedly approved the electric car project. 

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Electric car Stories August 20, 2014

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Tesla Motors, known for changing the automobile industry with its innovative electric cars, will update its Model S firmware in the coming months to allow owners to start and drive the Model S with only an iPhone. While it isn’t yet exactly certain how this will work, there is speculation that it will involve Touch ID and may coincide with the launch of iOS 8 next month. The above screenshot of Version 6 is said to be in late beta stages and being finalized for full rollout now.

Tesla’s iPhone app won our 2013 app of the year and the ability to start the car and drive it would continue down that same innovative road.  Other systems for starting a car and driving it from a mobile phone already exist for 3rd parties like Viper and others.

Tesla has been busy snapping up Apple employees over the past year. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, Tesla snapped up Director of Manufacturing technology Rich Heley. Then security researcher Kristin Paget joined in February. Also, much of Tesla’s UI design team comes from Apple.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also spotted at Apple last year and while speculation was that Apple was considering a buyout (shot down) or becoming an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory, perhaps Musk was simply looking to better integrate the iPhone with his cars.

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