If Apple wants to quell speculation about its rumored efforts to develop an electric car, the consumer electronics behemoth is going about it the wrong way. Apple hired quality manager Doug Betts from Fiat Chrysler this month and is keeping mum about his role in the company. This comes after Apple hired a key researcher from Mercedes-Benz earlier this year.
Apple is working on a car-related project known as CarPlay, but the industry has been awash in speculation that the company is working on more than just a complex entertainment system for your vehicle. The rumored car project is believed to be called “Titan.”
Apple appears to have hired a number of auto-industry experts and is rumored to have created a team of 200 or more to develop its electric car. On top of that, a battery maker in Massachusetts sued Apple at the beginning of the year, alleging that Apple was poaching employees in an effort to build an in-house battery development operation. Such a battery program would be a major component of any effort on Apple’s part to build an electric car.
The field for long-range electric cars isn’t particularly crowded, but the main players have years of experience in comparison to Apple, who is likely still a few years out from truly entering the market – if it is, in fact, seeking to build a car. Companies like Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors, Chevy and Ford. Apple and Tesla have a history of poaching employees from each other, with Musk contending that his company has been winning the battle of wooing talent.
Apple’s hiring of Betts will be an interesting one for those who hope Apple is really developing an electric car. The former Fiat executive was responsible for quality and had wide-ranging authority in the company for the past six years. At Apple, it seems likely that he’d be overseeing the launch of another vehicle.