We’ve known since last week that Apple was working on some sort of car-related project. The big question was whether Apple was working on a line of car accessories — perhaps expanding on its existing CarPlay platform — or whether the company was going to start building its own cars.
New reporting from 9to5Mac provides strong evidence that Apple is working on an Apple Car.
Cars are complicated, and building one requires skills that a high-tech company like Apple doesn’t normally have. According to 9to5Mac, Apple has been snapping up engineers with expertise in motors, transmissions, drive trains, car interiors, and so forth.
The list includes four people with experience at Ford, four who previously worked at Tesla, a former CEO of Mercedes-Benz, and a General Motors employee. Apple has also hired an engineer from auto-part maker EMCO Gears and multiple engineers from A123 Systems, which makes batteries for hybrid and electric cars (A123 has sued Apple over these hires).
It’s unlikely that Apple would hire people like this if it were only working on car accessories. And it wouldn’t hire hundreds of people just to work on a pilot project. Granted, Apple CEO Tim Cook could still decide to cancel it if the results aren’t up to Apple’s standards. But there’s a good chance we’ll see some kind of Apple Car in the next few years.