There has been little secret of late of a war brewing between Apple and Tesla Motors to obtain each other’s brain trust. Recently the Tesla CEO Elon Musk has lamented Apple’s more aggressive head-hunting at Tesla of late saying they are offering signing bonuses of $250,000 and 60% raises.
“Apple tries very hard to recruit from Tesla. But so far they’ve actually recruited very few people.”
But if you think Apple’s recent ratcheting up of recruiting is unfair, it isn’t. Tesla has reported poached over 150 Apple employees, including the man who now serves as Tesla’s current vehicle chief, Doug Field.
Now comes word on just exactly why Apple has fought back, grabbing Tesla engineers and other professionals across the automotive segment – a secret electric vehicle program.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple chief designer Jonathan Ive has held meetings with automotive executives and engineers around the space, looking to hire them away to work on project “Titan”.
Apparently, Apple CEO Tim Cook has given the green light to the project, which current has “several hundred” employees on the job, and may shortly expand up to 1,000 people – working at their own development facility and “secret lab” away from Apple’s main Infinite Loop campus.
According to the report, at the head of the project is iPhone designer Steve Zadesky, formerly of Ford fame, who recently has been researching “robotics, metals and materials consistent with automobile manufacturing.” Johann Jungwirth, former Mercedes-Benz R&D head is also connected to the project.
As for the “Titan” projects specifics, none is really know, other than the vehicle is “minivan-like“. Whether or not the unnamed EV is actually a mini-van or just a large utility vehicle is still unknown.
Whatever the reason Apple has decided to get into the electric vehicle game, whether if be simple annoyance with Tesla from CEO Cook, or a desire to further rule the world, it doesn’t much matter to us – as Apple has the ability to advance the plug-in vehicle segment faster than any other single company – if they so desire.
Currently, Apple has more spare, unused resources available to throw at building electric vehicles than…well, anyone else in the universe. So much that they have the ability to buy and sell Tesla 7 times over with the $180 billion or so of loose change they just have lying around in their sofa, and a $740 billion dollar company market cap.
We look forward to test driving the “iCar” of the future.