Bloomberg: Apple Car team adds more ex-Tesla executives, release at least 5-7 years away

A new report from Bloomberg today offers new details on Apple’s ongoing efforts to build a self-driving electric car. According to the report, Apple has a “small team” working on Apple Car, but a release is likely at least five to seven years away.

The report explains:

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has a small team of hardware engineers developing drive systems, vehicle interior and external car body designs with the goal of eventually shipping a vehicle. That’s a more ambitious goal than in previous years when the project mostly focused on creating an underlying self-driving system. The company has also added more ex-Tesla Inc. executives to the project.

Work on the Apple Car project has been delayed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report says. Currently, “the majority of the team is currently either working from home or at the office for limited time” because of the pandemic. This has caused Apple’s work on the project to slow down.

Bloomberg also has details on some recent hires for the Apple Car team, including former Tesla executives:

Apple also recently hired Jonathan Sive, a vehicle engineer from BMW AG, Tesla and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, as a senior manager on the car project. In 2019, Apple tapped Michael Schwekutsch, Tesla’s former vice president in charge of drive systems, adding to a growing list of former Tesla employees working on the vehicle effort. 

Late in 2020, Apple also hired another former Tesla vice president, Stuart Bowers, according to a person familiar with the move. He led Tesla’s self-driving technology team until mid-2019 and was an executive-in-residence at venture capital firm Greylock Partners until July, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Apple’s car team is filled with dozens of other ex-Tesla hardware and self-driving car engineers. In total, Apple has several hundred engineers working on the project, with most of them developing the self-driving car system rather than the full-fledged vehicle. 

Today’s report from Bloomberg follows earlier reporting from Reuters, who said Apple Car could enter production by 2024. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, however, has said that the Apple Car launch could be 2028 or later depending on a variety of factors.

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