Monday, February 16, 2015

Apple Gears Up to Challenge Tesla in Electric Cars

Creation of Apple Branded Electric Vehicle

The Cupertino California Company has revolutionized phones and music and is now focusing at bigger target – the automobiles, as reported by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Mike Ramsey for the Wall Street Journal. The giant tech company has hundreds of employees who are secretly working in the creation of an Apple branded electric vehicle as indicated by people who are familiar with this issue. The said project code-named `Titan’, is initially working on the design of the vehicle which resembles a minivan.

It is said that Apple often investigates technologies as well as potential product and going for building multiple prototypes for something which it will not sell and any car would take many years for completion as well as to obtain safety certifications. Moreover the size of the project team as well as the senior people involved, state that the company is serious as reported by some source. Apple executive had flown to Austria in order to meet with the contract manufacturers for high end cars which included the Magna Steyr unit of Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc.

Stamp on Electric Vehicle Market

The industrial team of Apple comprised of several people with experience at European auto makers and Marc Newson was hired by Apple last year, who is a famous industrial designer as well as a close colleague of the company’s designer John Ive. Newson, in the past had created a concept car for Ford Motor Company. As reported by Wakabayashi and Ramsey they state that `Apple hopes to put its stamp on the electric vehicle market in the same way it did the smartphone with its iPhone, indicated by a person familiar with its work’.

The car project was approved by Mr Cook almost a year ago and had assigned veteran product design Vice President, Steve Zadesky in leading the group related by the people who were familiar with the matter. Zadesky is the former Ford engineer who had helped in leading Apple team with the creation of iPod and iPhone according to Wakabayashi and Ramsey. Apple had also hired Johann Jungwirth in September, who had been the president as well as the chief executive of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America having operation in Sunnyvale, California in the vicinity of Apple’s campus as per his LinkedIn profile.

Advantage – Persuaded Employees to Stay on 

Another benefit of the project according to a source was that it persuaded several Apple employees who had intentions of leaving the company, to stay and work on an exciting new endeavour minus the pressure of churning new product every year. Other Silicon Valley giants are also looking at autos and Google Inc. has also been working on a self-driving car for years.

Google’s head autonomous vehicle project stated that last year the company had their focus to forge a partnership with auto makers in order to build a self-driving car within the next few years. As informed by a source familiar with the project it was stated that a self-driving car was not part of Apple/s current plan. Chief Executive Tim Cook had informed interviewer Charlie Rose in September that `there were products that they were working on and that no one knows about it and nothing has yet been rumoured about it’.

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