New Delhi: The iPhone maker, Apple Inc. is now planning to begin the production of its electric cars as early as 2020.
Apple has been working secretly on this project.
A typical timeframe for automakers to develop a car is five to seven years. This could also set the stage for a battle for customers between Apple and Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Co., both of which are targeting 2017 for the release of electric vehicles that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000.
As reported by Live Mint, Steve LeVine, author of “The Powerhouse,” a book about the automotive battery industry, said, "Now you have Apple coming in and this is critical mass. Was GM really going to be able to match Tesla? Apple can.”
After Apple posted a record profit of $18 billion during the past quarter, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, is facing increased pressure to return cash to shareholders. He has been pushing the company to enter new categories, to further advance the digital experience for customers.
Apple's possible foray into cars follows a similar path it's taken to break into other industries. The company wasn't the first to make a digital-music player or smartphone, and only entered those markets once it had a product that redefined those categories.
According to some media reports, Apple may decide to scrap its car effort or delay it if executives are unhappy with progress. The car team already consists of about 200 people and Apple has ramped up hiring within the past few months, seeking out experts in technologies for batteries and robotics.
A recent lawsuit by battery maker A123, claiming Apple is aggressively poaching staff members, lends further credence to the company's efforts to create an automotive team for the project. A123 makes lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and other products.