Apple is reportedly moving beyond computers and mobile devices to take on the likes of Tesla Motors in the electric car market, the Wall Street Journal says (paywall). Apple reportedly has “hundreds of employees” working on a project codenamed “Titan,” a secret plan to build a minivan-shaped electric vehicle.
There’s no guarantee that Apple will ever release such a car. The company, of course, declined to comment on the rumor. It’s entirely possible, as the Journal pointed out, that Apple could be working on in-car prototypes, such as fleshing out its existing CarPlay experience.
But earlier today, the Financial Times reported (paywall) that Apple had hired several automotive design and technology professionals to be led by managers from its iPhone division, including Johann Jungwirth, the former chief of Mercedes’s research-and-development arm in Silicon Valley.
Minivans, long the domain of suburban soccer moms in the United States, don’t exactly evoke the sleekness and quality of design of, say, the Tesla Model S, let alone Apple’s own products.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has been vocal in his desire for competition. The company even released all of its patents to the public in 2014. With such a large-scale operation seemingly underway at Apple, it looks like Musk got his wish. Tesla’s shares have dipped slightly in after-hours trading.