New Report Says Apple Was in Talks to Use BMW i3 as Basis for Electric Car Project
Apple and BMW were in negotiations to use the German car manufacturer's car platform for its electric i3 for Apple's rumored car project, code-named "Project Titan", according to a new report from German business magazine Manager Magazin [Google Translate].
The Cupertino company was interested in the body of the i3, which is a small hatchback that has a shell made out of carbon fiber, helping keep the car light. The two companies began talks in autumn 2014, but broke off talks before committing to check in with each other and their plans periodically. The report also states that Tim Cook and Apple senior managers made a trip to BMW's factory in Leipzig, Germany to take a look at the production of the i3.
This isn't the first time BMW and Apple have been linked to be working on a car. In March, a report from German automotive magazine Auto Motor und Sport claimed the two were in close negotiations to turn the i3 into an "Apple Car". However, BMW denied the claim to Reuters hours after the report surfaced.
Earlier this week, Apple hired Doug Betts, former Senior Vice President of the Chrysler Group and the global head of operations leading product service and quality, continuing the company's hiring of automotive experts. Additionally, Apple hired Paul Furgale, a researcher with a specialization in autonomous vehicles.
While details on Apple's car project have been scarce, there have been reports of Apple recruiting talent from the automotive industry, including poaching employees from Tesla, Ford and GM, and that the company has hundreds of employees working on its car project. Rumors suggest Apple is aiming to produce a car by 2020, but because Apple often works on projects that never see the light of day, it's possible the company could delay or shelve the project if it's not happy with its progress.