The German publication said on Monday that it had “learned from informed sources that Apple is running a secret laboratory for the development of an automobile — and this in the middle of Berlin.” The laboratory is reportedly home to 15-20 staff with backgrounds in engineering, software, hardware, and sales.
Apple could also be looking at building the vehicle — widely referred to as either the Apple Car or the iCar — in Vienna, Austria, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine. In order to build the car in Vienna, Apple will reportedly team up with vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing firm Magna.
Apple has never admitted that it is working on an electric car but the company has recruited dozens of automotive experts from companies like Ford and Mercedes-Benz, according to The Financial Times.
The Apple Car, which may or may not be self-driving, is being developed under the code name “Titan,” according to The Wall Street Journal. There may be hundreds of of people working on the project, including former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky, who helped build the iPhone. There’s also Johann Jungwirth, who was Mercedes Benz’s R&D chief before being hired by Apple in September 2014.
Apple CEO Tim Cook visited BMW’s German headquarters in 2014, according to a Reuters report in January, which also stated that senior Apple executives went on a tour of BMW’s Leipzig factory to learn how it manufactures the i3 electric car.
Apple is hoping to start shipping the Apple car in 2019, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal in September 2015.