Apple Reportedly Eying 2019 Launch Date For Self-Driving Electric Vehicle

With the spotlight aimed primarily at Volkswagen these part few days (for all the wrong reasons), the German company is probably happy to hear that another company is grabbing headlines in the automotive space. And interestingly enough, the company drawing attention hasn’t never produced a vehicle, nor has it publicly stated that it will produce a vehicle — but all signs points towards the end game.

The company we’re all talking about of course is Apple, and a new report from The Wall Street Journal today says that the Cupertino, California-based company’s electric car is labeled as a “committed project” and that it will launch in 2019.

There’s no skirting around the fact that Apple has hired number of key automotive engineers and executives, including more than a few engineers from electric car maker Tesla Motors. In addition, the company has held meetings with the California Department of Motors Vehicles to discuss is self-driving aspirations. The company has also eyed using GoMentum Station as a proving ground for its vehicles. It’s remote location secure testing facilities make it a prime target for the notoriously secretive Apple.

tim cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple reportedly has a team of 600 employees devoted to the electric car program, however, that number could triple in size between now and when the vehicle is set to be unveiled.

Even if Apple does eventually reveal an electric car to the public, it will take more than its name and reputation for building trendy mobile devices to win over customers. Of course, the move isn’t unprecedented. Tesla seemingly came out of nowhere to become a technology leader in the advancement of electric vehicles. However, Elon Musk and company had some help by using a highly modified Lotus Elise chassis to get its first electric car out of the garage. Apple will be starting from scratch, and building a vehicle that meets certain performance targets while adhering to safety regulations (while keeping pricing in check) is no easy feat.

And we also have to consider that by the turn of the century, there will be a lot more electric vehicles entering the market from big name players. The Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla’s entry-level Model III will hit the streets whiten the next two years, and companies like Audi and Porsche aren’t exactly standing still when it comes to EVs. The latter just revealed the Mission E all-electric sedan concept, which has a 310-mile range and performance that mirrors the venerable 911. It will launch by 2020.

What does Apple itself have to say about all of this EV talk? Not much actually. When questioned about the prospects of an Apple Car on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Apple CEO Tim Cook replied, “We look at a number of things along the way and we decide to put our energy into a few of them.”