CUPERTINO (CBS SF) – Rumors have been floating around that Apple Inc. is looking to get into the electric vehicle market and now, it appears the Cupertino-based company is wasting little time.
According to Bloomberg Business, Apple is pushing to begin production of an electric car as early as 2020. A typical timeframe for automakers to develop a car is five to seven years.
This could also set the stage for a battle for customers between Apple and Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Co., both of which are targeting 2017 for the release of electric vehicles.
Bloomberg reports that the car team already consists of about 200 people and Apple has ramped up hiring within the past few months, seeking out experts in technologies for batteries and robotics.
Bloomberg does warn that like some of Apple’s previous “secret projects,” the company may decide to scrap the plan altogether if they are not pleased with progress being made by the team.
A recent lawsuit by battery maker A123, claiming Apple is aggressively poaching staff members, lends further credence to the company’s efforts to create an automotive team for the project. A123 makes lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and other products.
After Apple posted a record profit of $18 billion during the past quarter, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, facing increased pressure to return cash to shareholders, is pushing the company to enter new categories, to further advance the digital experience for customers.