According to a report on Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Tech giant, Apple has designated building an electric car as a committed project and has set a target shipping date for 2019.
The project has been code-named Titan and the company has decided to triple the 600 man team to 1800 people, citing people familiar with the matter, with a view to shipping the product (that is, having its engineers agree on key elements of the design) by 2019.
Apple also dismissed suggestions that the company is interested in making autonomous cars, completely capable of functioning without a driver, though it remains a long-term plan.
Apple spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including hiring car experts.
Apple hired Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen AG engineer with expertise in automated driving, and Vinay Palakkode, a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University.
The company has already expressed interest in scheduling time at the GoMentum Station testing facility for autonomous and connected vehicles east of San Francisco.
Apple is some way behind the established giants of the auto industry in wanting to bring an electric vehicle to market, but the prospect of low oil prices for the next few years may mean that that gap isn’t as much of a handicap as it would otherwise be.
However, reaction from industry analysts, suggests that the end of the decade could be an optimistic target, and Apple might wind up taking a bit longer or even partnering with a traditional automaker.