Apple Project Titan: Electric Car May Arrive By 2019 - InformationWeek

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9/22/2015
05:05 PM
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Apple Project Titan: Electric Car May Arrive By 2019

Apple is ramping up the development of Project Titan, its foray into electric car production, by expanding its team, the WSJ reports.

New York Auto Show: Cool Cars With Hot Tech
New York Auto Show: Cool Cars With Hot Tech
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Unconfirmed reports about Apple's secretive Project Titan -- the company’s all-electric vehicle project -- have been piling up with increasing rapidity.

The latest indication that Apple is pushing ahead with the project comes from a report in The Wall Street Journal, which quoted unnamed sources familiar with the matter as saying the company is targeting a shipment date of 2019.

Apple has authorized the leaders of Project Titan to triple the size of the development team, which currently stands at 600 and is swelling with the ranks of former auto industry leaders.

In an interesting twist, the sources said that, while Apple has been hiring experts in autonomous vehicle technology, Apple's first all-electric car won't be fully self-driving.

(Image: Jason Doiy/iStockphoto)

(Image: Jason Doiy/iStockphoto)

That technology will be integrated at a later date, and remains part of Apple's long-term strategy in the market, the sources said.

The report aligns with an earlier February report in Bloomberg, which described Apple's plans to enter the electronic vehicle market in 2020.

In August, Apple hired Jamie Carlson, a former senior engineer at electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors. Carlson is now listed as an employee of Apple under the heading special projects.

In July The WSJ revealed that Doug Betts, a former global quality executive at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has joined Apple, though Betts declined to comment when contacted by the paper.

In addition to luring top tech talent, Apple is also reportedly reaching out to automakers with electric car experience to help it with Project Titan.

In July, the International Business Times reported that Apple is interested in partnering with BMW to use that company's i3 electric car as a platform for Apple's own vehicle. Apple CEO Tim Cook even went to BMW's production line for the i3, located in Leipzig, Germany, to take a tour of the facilities.

[Want to know more about Volkswagen's software cheat? Read Volkswagen CEO: Using Deceptive Software Was Wrong.]

A September research note by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, which was published in several news outlets, put the likely chance of Apple actually producing an electric car at between 50% and 60%.

"If Apple makes a car as we know it today, we expect it to be an electric vehicle that is likely priced in the luxury market," he wrote. "A car by Apple may look completely different than what we think of as a typical car today in terms of shape and size."

Munster also opined that the project was closer to 10 years away from delivery than 5 years, noting that by that time automation will be a key competitive feature when Apple unveils the vehicle.

A Sept. 18 report in British newspaper the Guardian broke the news that Apple company executives had met with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about Project Titan.

An earlier report from the Guardian revealed Apple's interest in GoMentum Station, a 5,000-acre former Navy weapons station in Concord, California, that features 20 miles of paved roadway.

Other companies have used the location for testing, validation, and commercialization of connected vehicle applications and autonomous vehicle technologies.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2015 | 2:15:03 PM
Re: Infastructure
@kstaron
Performance is one area where you'll find little to complain about with the modern versions of electric cars. Tesla's P85D Model S was called "the best-performing car that Consumer Reports has ever tested."

Finding a charging station and waiting for the charge to complete - that's a different matter!
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2015 | 12:56:07 PM
Re: Infastructure
Whenever I think of electric cars I think of the tricked out golf carts in Midwest lake communities. Those things are not exactly street legal (in most cases). I would be most interested in how an electric car performs with acceleration and maintaining highway speeds. I imagine some engine power would have to be sacrificed without the battery taking up most of the car. Automation can come later, but a car needs to behave like a car. It can't putter around town and not be good enough for real speeds. I can't wait to see what they come up with.
exar1
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exar1,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/24/2015 | 8:37:01 PM
Apple Titan
The story of Amectran can be found under Amectran on the internet.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
9/24/2015 | 12:53:38 PM
Re: Are we sure about this?

@Somedude8 you are right. Even today we can see vehicles build under the term "Hybrid" which are partially electric and partially gasoline driven. So the concept of electric is already in place. We are only waiting to see when they remove the Gasoline part and I am not sure the giants of Gasoline industry will take it very positively.

nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
9/24/2015 | 12:48:26 PM
Re: Infastructure

@SachinEE i am not sure that roads can be built for these cars only till their numbers exceed the numbers of normal petrol running vehicles. I am also not very sure that any country is ready to invest heavily in changing the already available road infrastructure and that too at a massive scale. Can you please elaborate at what scae they are constructing the roads?

exr
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exr,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/24/2015 | 4:14:33 AM
Apple project Titan
It is interesting that Apple, of all companies, would seek the advice of amateurs in the so called electric automobile industry (i.e., gasoline cars with electric motors and batteries as replacements for gas tanks and engins), rather than contacting the world's leading expert on electric cars and innovated technology who has been 35 years ahead of current "electric car" business - the company, Amectran. While Amectran has attempted to contact Apple they have ignored his offer to assist. For Apple, this is a rather irrational desplay of foolharty behavior ... as the offer includes saving them billions of dollars and years of time. Even if Apple considered the offer rediculous, it would still behove them to at least send a personal representitive to visit with Amectran's inventor, particularly if there exists only the mere possibility that the offer is genuine - ignoring a personal visit to evaluate the ancellary and concomitant electric automobile technology offered is indeed bad judgement - after all, Amectran has produced the World's First 'Real' Electric Automobile - that, in and of itself, is not something not to ignor, if you're actually considering building an electric automobile.

(editor's note: this comment was submitted under the name Edmond Ramirez. Edmond X Ramirez Sr. was identified as president of Amectran in this 1980 article in Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/1980/1106/110654.html)
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
9/23/2015 | 10:42:29 AM
Are we sure about this?
It just seems so far fetched that Apple would build a car. The rumor mill has been running overtime lately with talk about an Apple car, in terms as if its a done deal. Just not sure I believe it quite yet. Reminds of hte talk about the Apple TV for years, which turned out to not be a TV at all.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
9/23/2015 | 9:16:35 AM
Re: Infastructure
Somehow whenever I think of it, the term "electric" only rings one bell in my head, and that is Tesla. I don't think Apple can take a good market share with the car, maybe in US, but a Tesla is a relevant car in other parts of the world and there are very loyal buyers in US as well. Unless Apple aquires the production lines of Tesla, though.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
9/23/2015 | 9:14:14 AM
Re: Infastructure
@Gare: Why make charging stations when you can make charging roads. I heard UK gov is making these roads specifically for electric cars, i.e. these roads can charge the car throughout. 
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2015 | 6:32:14 PM
Infastructure
It's getting so that the building of an electric car is no big deal. A battery that could be fully charged in about the same time as it takes to fill up a car's gasoline tank would be big news. The construction of a decent number of charging stations would be another game changer. Until then, electric cars will be interesting third cars for those who can afford them.
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