Move over Tesla: Apple is working on an electric car for launch in 2019, claims report
- Firm is tripling number of engineers on the project, code-named Titan
- Claim made by unidentified sources in a Wall Street Journal report
- Apple recently confirmed that it met with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss laws surrounding autonomous vehicles
- But the first car to be launched won't be self-driving, the sources say
An electric car created by Apple could be a reality in as little as four years.
Sources claim the company is tripling the number of engineers on the project, code-named Titan, and has set a 'ship date' of 2019.
The Wall Street Journal said today the date could just be a target for engineers to sign off on the design, not necessarily when a car would be available for sale.
Apple declined comment Monday on the Journal report, which cited unidentified sources.
The report said self-driving car is still a part of Apple's long-term plans, but the first model will require someone to be behind the wheel.
While Apple has never officially confirmed it's planning to build a car, there are strong indications it's at least interested in automotive technology.
In recent months, Apple has hired a number of engineers with backgrounds in automotive and battery design.
A LinkedIn profile for Jamie Carlson shows that he has left Tesla and moved to Apple.
At least six others with experience developing self-driving technology and systems have joined Apple, according to their LinkedIn profiles.
Apple representatives also met in May with officials at an automotive testing facility located east of San Francisco.
Site officials later confirmed to the Associated Press that Apple requested information about using their facility.
And last month, an Apple attorney met with officials at California's Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss the state's regulations for self-driving cars.
A department spokesman confirmed that meeting on Monday, after it was first reported by the Guardian newspaper.
'DMV often meets with various companies regarding DMV operations,' said Armando Botello, the agency's deputy director, in an email.
'The Apple meeting was to review DMV's autonomous vehicle regulations.'
A number of car manufacturers and technology companies, including Google and Uber, are working on autonomous and electric-powered vehicles.
Google announced last week that it's hired former Hyundai U.S. CEO John Krafcik to run its self-driving car program.
Analysts say Apple has the financial resources and ambition to design and build a high-end vehicle, although some believe it's more likely interested in developing software for use in cars made by other companies.
'We believe the auto industry represents a significant opportunity for Apple, but we also expect Apple to be deliberate as always in its product development and testing,' said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Munster said he believes there's a '50-60 percent probability' of an Apple car becoming a reality.