It seems that Apple (News - Alert) has moved it’s plans to release an electric car from the back burner to a more short term plan. Up until now, Apple has devoted a team of around 600 people to researching and developing an electric car. However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple is planning to triple that number, and have the vital elements of the design settled and ready for production by 2019.
Apple is starting a little behind the ball when compared to companies like Google (News - Alert) and Tesla in attempting to develop an electric car. But, the Journal speculates, this will not handicap Apple as much as it potentially could have because of the recent (and projected future) drop in oil prices. Because gas vehicles will be cheaper to operate, the demand for electric cars will not grow as fast as previously projected, effectively giving Apple time to catch up to their competitors.
It is important to note that Apple’s electric car will not be a direct competitor with the self-driving car that is currently being worked on by Google. While that does remain a part of research and development and an eventual plan for the future, the elements that Apple is fast tracking is aimed only at creating electric vehicles in the some vein as those created by Tesla.
While 2019 is currently Apple’s target date to have at least some semblance of a finished product, the source quoted by the Wall Street Journal reports that there may be some tangible results for this project in the near future. Apparently, Apple has already begun scheduling talks with GoMentum Station, a San Francisco facility that specializes in testing connected and driverless cars.
The major hurdle that is reportedly still facing Apple in this endeavor is who to task with the manufacturing of the hardware for their electric car. For small electronics like Apple iPhones and Macintosh Computers, Apple has been known to outsource manufacturing to Foxconn, a manufacturing company based in Taiwan. This is not a practical approach to heavier pieces of machinery that are required with cars. It will be interesting to see how Apple takes care of this issue as they push towards producing their own electronic car.