As Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, Apple’s electric car is an “open secret.”
Apple has never confirmed the project, but we’ve gradually collected details of Apple’s car plans over time, dubbed internally as Project Titan.
Here’s everything we do know:
Rumor has it that Apple aims to release its electric car in 2021.
That target date was originally 2019, according to a September Wall Street Journal report. But the project has suffered through a series of setbacks that has pushed the target date back to 2021, according to an article by Amir Efrati in The Information.
The company reportedly has around 1,000 engineers working on the project.
And Apple has purchased several web addresses related to cars, including apple.car and apple.auto
There are reports of it being developed in a secret lab in Berlin, Germany.
German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine reported that Apple is running a secret laboratory in the middle of Berlin to develop the car.
But Apple could also be looking at building the vehicle — widely referred to as either the Apple Car or the iCar — in Vienna, Austria.
That information also comes from the Frankfurter Allgemeine report.
There are also facilities in Sunnyvale, California that are thought to be dedicated to Project Titan.
Apple actually leased a 96,000-square foot former Pepsi bottling plant in Sunnyvale in November (pictured above), prompting speculation that the tech giant is expanding its Project Titan facilities in the California city.
Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal
It’s also worth noting that Apple “basically owns an entire hill in Ireland” where it may be working on the car.
The Irish Independent reported in March 2015 that Apple had plans to expand its factory in Holyhill, Cork (pictured above), which got a roughly $ 340 million investment some time in 2014. Job listings for the factory hint it’s being used for automotive development.
Source: Irish Independent
The tech giant has also inquired about using GoMentum, which is a testing station that’s been used by Google and Tesla.
Above you see a driverless Honda getting tested at GoMentum.
Source: Business Insider
Ok, so there’s a lot of places that could be housing the project, but what about the car itself? There are reports that the prototype Apple is working on resembles a minivan, but that could very well change.
We have yet to get any real insight as to what the Apple car will look like.
And it’ll probably be very connected. “When I look at the automobile, what I see is that software becomes an increasingly important part of the car of the future,” Tim Cook said of cars of the future in October.
He wasn’t speaking about the Apple car, but cars generally. Still, his comments have been seen as hinting to the features Apple will work to incorporate in its electric car.
“If you listed out the 10 top things you love about the car, [the interface] would probably not be on the top 10 list,” Cook also said.
Source: WSJD Live Conference
Apple is also reportedly interested in advancing the battery tech for its electric car.
Apple has teamed up with a South Korean company to make the batteries for its self-driving, electric car project, according to a report by South Korean technology news website Etnews.
According to the report, Apple is teaming up with the unnamed company to use lithium-ion batteries with a hollow center because the design expands the battery capacity.
But Apple is currently prioritizing working on the software for driverless cars, rather than building an actual car from scratch.
Apple hired Dan Dodge, the founder of QNX and one of the premiere experts in car software.
Bloomberg reported that “The initiative is now prioritizing the development of an autonomous driving system, though it’s not abandoning efforts to designing Apple’s own vehicle. That leaves options open should the company eventually decide to partner with or acquire an established car maker, rather than building a car itself.”
The rumor that the Apple car could be autonomous is further supported by comments an Apple source made that the car “will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money.”
Source: Business Insider
And we know that Apple has met with officials from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss the state’s regulations for autonomous cars.
Source: The Guardian
But Apple has reportedly had a difficult time getting an automaker to help develop the car, with BMW and Daimler rejecting the tech giant’s offers.
BMW and Daimler were both reportedly in talks with Apple to develop the car, according to an April story by the German news organization Handelsblatt.
Although there are reports Apple may be teaming up with vehicle engineering and contracting firm Magna, which is based in Vienna, Austria.
That doesn’t seem too far fetched considering those rumors we mentioned earlier about the Apple Car getting built in Vienna.
Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine
Apple tapped Bob Mansfield, who used to be the head of hardware development at Apple and worked on Macs and the iPad, as head of Project Titan in July.
The former head, Steve Zadesky, left Apple in January.
Source: Tech Insider
Apple has hired quite a few automotive experts, like Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering Chris Porritt, pictured below.
Apple also hired David Masiukiewicz, formerly Tesla’s senior CNC programmer for hardware prototypes, and Kevin Harvey, formerly Andretti Autosport’s CNC machine shop supervisor.
Tesla’s Elon Musk has even commented on how many employees have gone to work at Apple.
“We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding,” Musk said.
We’ll have to wait to hear more about Apple’s car project.