The size of the project team and some of the people assigned to it indicate that the company is serious, these people said. Apple executives have flown to Austria to meet with contract manufacturers for high-end cars including the Magna Steyr unit of Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc.
Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly approved the project nearly a year ago and assigned VP Steve Zadesky to lead the group. Zadesky is a former Ford engineer who helped lead the teams that built the iPod and iPhone. He was given the go ahead to create a 1,000 person team and poach employees from different parts of Apple.
The team is said to work at a private location a few miles from Apple's corporate headquarters in Cupertino. It's researching different types of robotics, metals, and materials consistent with manufacturing a vehicle, say sources.
While manufacturing a vehicle is typically very expensive, this would not be an issue for Apple who has nearly $180 billion in cash. A single manufacturing plant is said to cost over $1 billion and requires a massive supply chain to produce over 10,000 components.
The WSJ's report corroborates another recent report from the Financial Times that revealed Apple has been hiring experts in vehicle design and automotive technology to work in a secret research lab.
According to a source, Apple is not working on a self-driving car to compete with Google; rather, it's looking to build an electric car that will rival Tesla and other car manufacturers.
“There are products that we’re working on that no one knows about,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told Charlie Rose in September. “That haven’t been rumored about yet.”
Hit the link below for more details...