According to new reports, Apple may be entering the electric car market with…a minivan.
The Wall Street Journal wrote today that the company has hundreds of people working on a project, code named “Titan,” that would be the company’s first foray into the electric car space. At the moment, the vehicle currently resembles a minivan, according to unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
According to the report, Apple CEO Tim Cook approved the project more than a year ago. He tasked Steve Zadesky, a former Ford engineer and Vice President in the company’s product design team who ran the teams for the iPhone and iPod, with leading development of the project. That report builds on news from the Financial Times, which spotted that Apple hired Johann Jungwirth, the former head of Mercedes-Benz’s research and development lab in the U.S., to work on a vehicle development project.
The company has also been fighting for talent with Tesla, and hired 50 engineers away from Elon Musk’s electric car company, according to a report by Business Insider.
As for manufacturing the car, Apple executives have reportedly flown to Austria to meet with contract manufacturers that build high-end cars, including Magna Steyr. For the most part, Apple doesn’t operate its own factories, and it seems likely that the company would work with a more experienced car manufacturer for building the Titan.
All of this comes more than a year after Apple unveiled CarPlay, which extends the iOS interface from a user’s iPhone to their car dashboard. That software, which currently works in a variety of cars and third party head units, could be the foundation for Apple’s own in-car experience.
Of course, it’s possible that the car will never materialize. Apple comes up with (and even patents) interesting ideas that never see the light of day in one of its products. Even if the company does decide to bring a car to market, it will likely be years before we hear anything about the project.