Rumors of Apple’s car initiative began back in early 2015 when a report claimed that Apple had been speculating the effort for quite some time. Steve Jobs himself admitted to considering building a car in 2008, but put the plans on hold to focus on development of the iPhone. Over the course of a few months, however, it’s been more clear that Apple is indeed working on a car of some sorts.
In the wake of reports that Apple has shifted its focus towards developing self-driving automotive software, Apple the technical director of Porsche’s race car program earlier this year, hiring a project manager who helped engineer the sports car company’s victorious return to the Le Mans endurance race. Alexander Hitzinger is the latest auto specialist to be recruited by Apple as it explores building its own car.
Alexander Hitzinger helped Porsche, owned by Volkswagen, return to endurance racing and to develop the 919 hybrid sports car from scratch, much in the same way Apple is now looking into building its own vehicle. Porsche’s new race car won Le Mans and the endurance racing world championship in both 2015 and 2016 using largely unproven technology, which beat far more established rivals.
Hitzinger helped hire and build a development team and organizational structure at Porsche, expanding from ten staff to over 150 employees. His managerial experience is particularly appalling, which could be one of the main reasons to hire him for the designing and production of Apple’s dream project.
Reportedly, Apple was initially aiming to launch its own electric car by 2020, but a more recent report claims that the launch date has been shifted to 2021. The date could potentially have been affected by the departure of Steve Zadesky who was leading the ‘Project Titan’, forcing it to hit setbacks.
Hitzinger is quoted by Manager Magazin as saying he wanted to do something “which has a significant and direct impact on society”, but did not confirm he now worked at Apple.
Not much is known about the design of the Apple Car, though a variety of renders have materialised, all of which are purely imaginative and based on speculations entirely. The car is assumed to be electric, though its emancipated capabilities are unclear at this point.