Apple is not hiring any more for its ambitious (and secretive) electric vehicle program, says a report from Apple Insider. Apple’s design chief, Jony Ive, conducted a post-holiday progress review, after which the company reportedly placed a hiring freeze for its rumored Project Titan.
Several setbacks may have upset Apple
It is believed that there are more than 1,000 people working on this project, and the direction in which it is heading is said to have left Ive dismayed. According to Apple’s schedule, it is supposed to finish its final engineering on it by 2019, but there have been several roadblocks in recent months.
Apple was also facing some manufacturing issues, according to a previous Apple Insider report, and this created a pressure on the iPhone firm to consider partnering with an automaker that is more established, such as BMW. It is said that the German automaker was not very enthusiastic about entering into such an agreement, but Apple spoke to it about using its electric i3 model as a development platform. BMW attracted Apple’s interest because of its ability to go beyond traditional approaches to develop vehicles.
Some time ago, there was a report that Steve Zadesky, a long-time Apple engineer who is said to be in charge of Project Titan, is about to leave the company. Though the current news of staffing restrictions came several days after the report of Zadesky’s exit, many consider a connection between the two. The reasons cited for Zadesky’s departure were said to be personal.
Big expectations from Apple’s Project Titan
Rumors regarding Apple working on an electric car started circulating last year. The company’s initiative Project Titan has been making waves since then, but the news is speculative for now.
In September, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster wrote, “Apple investors ‘increasingly view the opportunity as a long term growth driver.’ Why? Because the automotive industry has come to dominate the tech industry in recent years.”
Apple’s car could be very much different from what today’s cars are in terms of shape and size, the analyst said.
On Monday, Apple shares closed down 1.95% at $99.44. Year to date, the stock is down by over 5%, while in the last year, it is down by almost 12%. The stock has a 52-week high of $134.54 and a 52-week low of $92.