Its code name is project ‘Titan’ and it has both the technology and automotive industries buzzing over what sort of vehicle Apple has up its sleeve. Tim Cook hasn’t flat out stated that he’s building an electric car, but there are obvious signs according to a news report by I4U that dropped earlier today (Feb. 20, 2015) that point to the fact that Apple is cooking up something big. The whole operation is very hush-hush and depending on the final product, there might not even be an all electric car released. But rest assured there are strides being made behind closed doors and the best we can do is speculate on the obvious indicators.
First of all, Elon Musk was adamant about the fact that Apple was actively recruiting engineers and hardware testers from its Palo Alto headquarters, offering more than a $250,000 signing bonus along with a full 60 percent increase to whatever Musk was paying. We know that Apple always unveils a ‘slam dunk’ when it comes to design so the bottleneck of the whole project comes from the battery technology. Apple isn’t known to be the cheaper competitor so when it comes to electric car range, it had better equal Musk’s Tesla Model E and the Chevrolet Volt if not surpass it. Apple has been known as of late to be poaching talent from Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Toshiba and Johnson inc, all current powerhouses in lithium ion technology.
What we do know is that there are about 200 employees that have been assigned to the project with more coming aboard everyday. This team includes engineers from Tesla, Ford, General Motors, Auto Liv (a car safety systems manufacturer) and Emco Gears (transmission specialists) and Ogin (drive-train specialists) not to mention numerous others. A123 systems is lithium ion battery manufacturer that was heavily hit by Apple’s recruiting practice and thus prompted the battery specialists to file a lawsuit against Apple contains evidence backing up Silicon Valley rumors of an Apple car in the works.
Barriers of entry into a highly competitive market are always of concern for any company venturing into unknown territory. Thankfully for Apple, Tesla proved that with the right minds and playing the right tactical legal moves, one can work there way into the automotive market. Elon Musk blazed the way and quite metaphorically, trail-blazed a path for electric car manufactures where there was one. Musk also single-handily built (and continues to expand) a supercharger network that Apple can ride the coattails of, if their Apple car drops.
And although there’s no hard evidence whether or not this iCar will be autonomous, it’s no rumor that Apple has been sourcing autonomous driving technology talent all over Silicon Valley (according to data from LinkedIn.) Best case scenario, Apple will integrate this iCar with its smartphone (iPhone) and just like your smartphone, when you come home at the end of the day, you’ll charge both your phone and car. From their, you can use your iCar as a glorified taxi to take you where you need to go given that by 2020, the batteries are up to snuff. We’ve got five years to make our best educated guesses, but until then, mums the word over at Apple HQ.