Battle of 'techtonic' proportions: Apple hires ex Tesla employees for its car

Apple is on a possible collision course with Tesla as it gears up to make its self-drive car a reality.Tesla has a stupendous lead in the world of EVs but Apple may have the ravenous desire to make a mark in the world of mobility.
By HT Auto Desk
| Updated on: 08 Jan 2021, 03:34 PM
Siri, order me an Apple car: Apple is reportedly working overtime to turn its self-drive vehicle into a reality.
Siri, order me an Apple car: Apple is reportedly working overtime to turn its self-drive vehicle into a reality.

It is an impending faceoff which promises to be nothing short of epic when Apple brings out its first-ever car that could possible go head-on against what Tesla has - and will have - on offer. And even though the Apple car - informally referred to as iCar - may be around five years away, its reported development has already set expectations sky high and left many contemplating about how Tesla would fend off competition of a completely new kind.

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And the tussle may have already begun with Bloomberg reporting that Apple has hired several former Tesla executives to its car project.

(Also read: How Apple making cars possibly effects Tesla)

Tech giant to storm car space

Many see Tesla more as a tech company than an a car maker. Such is the level of software integration, such is the sheer audacity of going beyond what traditional cars can do that Tesla has earned itself a cult following without even really having much - or often any - marketing budget at all. The California-based company has spread out to several countries and just fell short of delivering half a million cars last year - something that was laughed at when first mentioned by CEO Elon Musk.

And yet, Apple knows more than just a thing or two about massive fan following.

The project called Titan is Apple's foray into the automotive world and is under the leadership of top artificial intelligence executive John Giannandrea. But there is a secretive aura around most of the development work Apple does and as such, details are rather sketchy and the company declining to either confirm or negate reports and rumours.

Traditional car makers can take a hike. Well most of them anyway

It is believed that the rush among traditional automotive giants to shift to electric mobility is because these companies realize their past laurels - and sales sheets - would count for very little once newer players start re-arranging the boundary line and then change the rule of the games too.

Tesla has already become the world's most valuable car company and has a sizable lead in the EV space. And Apple is right up there as one of the most valuable company overall, if not the most valuable. The tech giant, obviously then, has the resources to - at least on paper - outmatch, outplay and outperform most automotive companies.

But does it also have the expertise? Seems unlikely.

The report about Apple hiring former Tesla executives comes almost at the same time as news that there could be a collaboration between Apple and Hyundai for EVs and batteries. While Hyundai has walked back from this after nearly confirming it, its shares have gone through the roof in South Korea.

Siri, make me a car

How Apple goes about developing its car cannot be said with certainty but it is likely that it won't actually manufacture these, much like Apple doesn't itself manufacture its electronic gadgets. But it does have the ability to combine its self-driving system to have its own software, sensor hardware and chip technologies, according to Bloomberg.

And although the Apple car is nowhere even remotely close to production stage, not many are choosing to doubt the company, especially after Tesla skeptics and critics were proven wrong by Musk and Co. For now, Tesla does have the lead but in some part of the universe where Musk dwells, he could be looking at his iPhone and wondering if it is time to say a firm farewell to Siri.

First Published Date: 08 Jan 2021, 03:34 PM IST

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