BMW with a portrait of Apple founder Steve Jobs in Tokyo (2013): »Apple's recruiters fish out the auto industry«
Photo: Toru Hanai / REUTERS
Apple is reportedly targeting the introduction of an autonomous passenger vehicle in 2024, which could include a breakthrough in battery technology.
The Reuters news agency reported, citing several insiders.
The development of one's own car, which began in 2014 as part of “Project Titan”, is correspondingly well advanced, said two people familiar with the matter.
A central element are newly developed batteries, which could deliver significantly lower costs with a longer range, said another person.
The report leaves open whether the allegedly planned car will be a mass-produced vehicle modeled on Tesla or rather autonomous shuttles (“people movers”).
The US group declined to comment.
Apple is hiring high-profile auto experts
It would come as no surprise to the industry that Apple is revisiting previous plans for its own vehicle.
In the summer, SPIEGEL reported in a report on the future of German auto suppliers on indications that Apple could revive its iCar project.
The Californians have recruited several top-class auto experts over the past two years, including Michael Schwekutsch, an engineer from Germany who previously researched electric drives for Tesla.
"Apple's recruiters are fishing for the auto industry," the top manager of a US manufacturer told SPIEGEL.
But it is not yet clear what the group is planning to do.
As part of “Project Titan”, Apple initially pursued the approach of building its own car entirely.
In the meantime, the group has shifted its focus to software.
In 2018, former Apple employee Doug Field returned from Tesla to the iPhone maker and laid off 190 members of the Titan team a year later.
In the meantime, Apple also had talks with Magna International about the production of a car.
A statement from Magna was not initially available either.
According to Reuters, parts of the car are likely to come from suppliers.
This includes the lidar sensors that the car uses to get an idea of its surroundings.
It remains unclear who will be responsible for assembling the vehicle.
According to the news agency, informed circles said that Apple could work with another partner here.
In any case, it cannot be ruled out that the Californians could end up being content with an autonomous driving system that would be installed in cars from a traditional manufacturer.
That is also the scenario that is considered likely in the German auto industry.
In addition, two insiders said the corona pandemic could delay plans until 2025 or later.
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sh / Reuters