Germany is the global hub of automobile design and manufacturing. If you want to build futuristic cars, it makes sense to setup a lab there. And Apple has done exactly the same thing. According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (popularly known as F. A. Z.), the Cupertino-based tech giant has setup a secret auto lab in the heart of Berlin to design and develop the much-rumored Apple car.

Apple Car: 'Top-Class' Talent Working Out Of A Secret Lab In Berlin

Top class progressive thinkers work at the Berlin lab

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the German publication reports that the lab is staffed by 15-20 “top class” employees with solid backgrounds in engineering, software, hardware, and sales. F. A. Z described employees at the lab as “progressive thinkers” who joined Apple after their ideas for innovation were stifled by the conservative outlook of their previous employers.

These progressive thinkers operate the Berlin lab as an incubator for ideas on futuristic vehicles. They are also studying government issues, potential manufacturing partnerships, and sales concerns, among other issues. F. A. Z. reiterated previous rumors that the first Apple car would be electric. However, the first few versions may lack autonomous driving capabilities as the technology is in its infancy.

Apple car may be manufactured by Magna Steyr

F.A.Z added that Apple was considering a vehicle-sharing model similar to BMW’s DriveNow electric car service. That’s because the tech giant lacks a nationwide distribution network. Sources told the publication that Apple will go with Magna Steyr’s Austrian arm for contract manufacturing of the Apple car. Previous reports suggest that the company was targeting a shipping date of 2019.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and other senior executives visited BMW’s German headquarters in 2014. Apple executives also toured a BMW manufacturing facility to learn how it produces the i3 electric car. Since last year, Apple has purchased or leased several real estate properties in Silicon Valley to design, develop and test its cars. All the building related to automobile work have been named after Greek mythological characters.