Apple is reportedly accelerating development of its electric car, targeting 2025 as a possible launch date — and now wants to make it fully self-driving.
The long-rumored Apple car project was recently put under the leadership of company veteran Kevin Lynch, who spearheaded the development of the Apple Watch.
Under his leadership, the company now hopes to not only release an electric car, but also make the first version fully autonomous, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Apple stock rose more than 2 percent to a new all-time high of $157.87 per share on the news. At the same time, shares of Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla lost its gains for the day and turned negative.
The car project is known internally at Apple as the Special Projects Group or “Project Titan.” It was started around 2014 and has suffered from a high rate of executive turn over.
Most recently, former head of the team Doug Field left the project for a job at Ford, according to Bloomberg, and was replaced by Lynch, who has no experience in car manufacturing.
The company is now targeting a launch in 2025, faster than the five- to seven-year timeline that some engineers had expected as recently as earlier this year, according to Bloomberg, though the report cautioned that timing is fluid.
The ideal design for the car would feature no steering wheel or pedals, the report added, and in at least one internal design, passengers would face inward, toward each other.
The company recently hit a milestone in developing the self-driving tech, and it could soon begin road testing, according to Bloomberg.
Despite the recent advancements, some within the team are skeptical of the ambitious 2025 timeline, the report said.
The company is aggressively staffing up in an effort to accelerate development, including the recent recruitment of CJ Moore, Tesla’s former self-driving software director, according to the report.
“The Special Projects Group is seeking an accomplished mechanical engineer to lead the development of mechanical systems with safety critical functions,” one recent Apple job listing reportedly read.
“You will use your passion for figuring things out to help design safety systems and to lead the testing and countermeasure of those systems.”
The company is still discussing what the business model for the car would eventually look like, according to the report, with some internally floating the idea of a self-driving Uber-like fleet of rental cars.
Successfully rolling out a fully self-driving car has been the ambition of many electric car startups, most notable Tesla. But even Musk’s electric car company is still likely years away from offering such a feature widely, analysts say.
“We would assign the chances of Apple unveiling its own standalone car by 2025 as 60 percent to 65 percent,” Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities, said.
“The company has been working in Cupertino for years around this autonomous vision and we believe a potential larger strategic partnership with an established auto player such as Hyundai, Tesla, GM, Ford, or VW would be a golden partnership for the next decade tapping into this EV opportunity.”
Representatives for Apple did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.