Is Apple pursuing an electric car? Credible press reports suggest that the company is indeed building an EV with a 600-person team. That team may soon triple, and the vehicle could be in production as soon as 2019 or 2020.
Tony Fadell, the CEO of Nest and one of the creators of the iPod, says that Apple has been thinking about EVs for a while. Speaking to Bloomberg's Emily Chang, Fadell said that he and Steve Jobs had multiple discussions about EV design back in 2008:
“Jobs and Fadell, who had collaborated on the iPod and iPhone, swapped ideas about car designs on multiple occasions. 'We had a couple of walks,' Fadell said in an interview with Bloomberg's Emily Chang. The pair posed hypothetical questions to each other, such as: 'If we were to build a car, what would we build? What would a dashboard be? And what would this be? What would seats be? How would you fuel it or power it?'"
Because of the deep problems in the auto industry at that time, the company decided to shelve the idea, said Fadell. "The Detroit auto industry was almost dead."
That didn't stop Tesla from charging ahead with its own plans to build a luxury EV during that dark period, even as the auto industry scoffed at the idea. Tesla faced its own deep financial troubles, but is now being taken seriously after showing that it could manufacture high-end electric cars in the U.S. and sell them to enthusiastic buyers.
Fadell's comments add to the speculation about Apple's reported EV project, code-named "Titan." The company has hired numerous auto industry veterans in recent months to join the team.
"I think you're going to see some dramatic changes in the way we think about these cars," he said. "But we're still seven to 10 years away from a massive switchover."
Watch the interview: