Here's everything we know about 'Project Titan,' Apple's electric car

GettyImages 73939601GettySHANGHAI, CHINA – APRIL 20: (CHINA OUT) A model poses beside a Magna Steyr MILA during the Auto Shanghai 2007 event on April 20, 2007 in Shanghai, China.

Apple’s building a car. Or something automotive.

Nobody’s really sure, because the company won’t comment on it, and Apple is famous for keeping its research and development projects under wraps.

But its hard to keep a project of this size a secret. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk says it’s an “open secret” that Apple has obvious automotive ambitions.¬†

There are a lot of rumours and gossip about the Apple Car. We’ve collected the best¬†below so they’re all in one place:

Do you know anything about Project Titan or Apple’s car? Email the author at [email protected]

The rumours first started to fly in February 2015, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had 'several hundred employees' working on an 'Apple-branded electric vehicle' called Project Titan.

According to the report, the vehicle looks like a minivan. Senior Apple executives have met with Austrian contract managers including Magna Steyr.


So Apple's been rumoured to be teaming up with automotive contract manufacturers -- many of whom are based in Europe. A German paper reported in April that Apple is running a secret lab in Berlin for auto development.



In 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited BMW's German headquarters, and senior Apple executives took a tour of BMW's i3 electric car factory.



One of those executives was most likely Steve Zadesky, who is a former Ford engineer. But he left Apple in late 2015 for 'personal reasons,' according to a report.

He's been replaced by Bob Mansfeld, a long-time Apple executive, according to the Wall Street Journal. Mansfield had retired in 2012, but is still well-respected around Apple because of his technical leadership of projects like the iPad. Bloomberg reports that Bob Mansfeld, the new Apple Car boss, reports directly to Tim Cook.



Mansfeld is leading a team of as many as 1,000, hired from companies like Tesla, Ford, and BMW.

YouTube/ABC News
Bob Mansfield giving an iPhone demo in 2010

These car teams are spreading out over a network of industrial facilities in Sunnyvale, California. Here's a picture of one of the most notorious facilities, where neighbours have reported hearing 'motor noises.'

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These facilities are named after Greek gods. More info here.

In fact, one San Francisco landlord said Apple was looking for 800,000 square feet of space in the Bay Area for 'autonomous cars.'

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An unfinished industrial space in Sunnyvale, California that Apple has been linked to.


According to the Financial Times, the car labs were set up shortly after September 2014, when Apple revealed its Apple Watch.

We first heard Apple car rumours in February 2015, when someone identifying himself as an Apple employee emailed us.

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'Apple's latest project is too exciting to pass up,' an anonymous person said in an email to Business Insider. 'I think it will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money.'


Shortly before that, someone had spotted a Dodge Caravan with cameras mounted on its roof driving around the Bay Area.



Now, Apple uses Dodge Caravans for Apple Maps. But at the time it was the first time anyone had spotted an Apple Van and Apple was cagey, as usual.

BI Illustration


Now there are rumours that Apple has a new version of its mapping van driving around -- TechRadar saw one in Cupertino, and we saw one on the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Apple declined to comment. Source. Source.

I wonder what Apple's doing with its fleet of older Dodge Caravans now.

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Besides building Apple Maps. Here's everywhere you can expect to find an Apple Maps van, according to Apple.

Most recently, Apple hired Dan Dodge, who founded QNX, the leading car operating system company.

YouTube/BlackBerry Jam


The Apple Car team is split into 'three pillars': one working on software, one working on hardware, and one working on sensors. Apple has filed patents for LIDAR sensors.



Apple's head of design, Jony Ive, is a big car guy. Here's video of him gushing over a vintage Ferrari.

(video provider='vimeo' id='72667817' size='xlarge' align='center')

Apple's also hired Ive buddy Marc Newson, who designed a concept car for Ford. Here's what it looks like:

(video provider='youtube' id='c9q_LlD6rLg' size='xlarge' align='center')

Apple's car is expected to have a 'ship date' in 2019, 2020, or even 2021 according to reports.

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