WSJ: Apple gears up to challenge Tesla in electric cars

Daisuke Wakabayashi and Mike Ramsey, writing for the Wall Street Journal:

Apple has several hundred employees working secretly toward creating an Apple-branded electric vehicle, according to people familiar with the matter. They said the project, code-named “Titan,” has an initial design of a vehicle that resembles a minivan, one of these people said.

The Apple-branded car has long been rumored, but this article gives this rumor some real teeth. There’s this for example:

Mr. Cook approved the car project almost a year ago and assigned veteran product design Vice President Steve Zadesky to lead the group, the people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Zadesky is a former Ford Motor Co. engineer who helped lead the Apple teams that created the iPod and iPhone.

Mr. Zadesky was given permission to create a 1,000-person team and poach employees from different parts of the company, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Working from a private location a few miles from Apple’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., the team is researching different types of robotics, metals and materials consistent with automobile manufacturing, the people said.

And this:

Manufacturing a car is enormously expensive. A single plant usually costs well over $1 billion and requires a massive supply chain to produce the more than 10,000 components. Elon Musk , the chief executive of electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc., said last fall that it is “really hard” to make a car, as the company struggled to ramp up production on its Model S sedan.

The expense is a barrier to entry to many potential competitors, but would be less of a hurdle for Apple, which reported holding $178 billion in cash as of Dec. 27, 2014.

This is certainly getting interesting.