The Apple Car isn’t expected to hit the road until 2020 at the earliest, but Apple’s engineers are already laying the foundation for one of the most challenging aspect of electric vehicles: keeping them charged up.
Apple appears to be preparing the ground work for its charging infrastructure, according to a new report claiming the company is scooping up engineers that specialize in electric charing stations.
“Apple is investigating how to charge electric cars, talking to charging station companies and hiring engineers with expertise in the area,” reports Reuters, who has talked to people familiar with the matter and scoured the LinkedIn profiles of Apple’s newest hires.
Apple has not admitted that it is trying to build an electric car, but the project is something of an open secret in Silicon Valley as the company has hired top talent from Tesla, BMW, Mercedes, and other car makers. Faced with slumping iPhone sales, Project Titan could provide Apple with the growth in a new market that it needs, if the car actually makes it onto roads.
To help build its charging network, Apple has asked a few charging station companies about their technology, which appears to indicate Apple wants to make its own car. It’s unclear if the company will pursue proprietary charing stations like Tesla’s Supercharger network, or if it will open the chargers to third party vehicles as well.
Tesla’s Superchargers can fill batteries from 0% to 100% in about 30 minutes, so Apple has hired at least four charging specialists to help it create a competitive charger, including former BMW engineer Rónán Ó Braonáin and Google’s charing expert Kurt Adelberger.
The Apple Car is expected to come with autonomous driving capabilities as well as an electric motor, however the project has gotten off to a rocky start after Apple lost its lead auto expert. The company is also looking for a manufacturer to help it build the iCar.