Apple Seeking 'Large Expanses of Real Estate' for Autonomous Car Project

Apple is looking to purchase "large expanses of real estate" in the San Francisco Bay Area for its much-rumored car project, codenamed Project Titan, according to The Wall Street Journal. Google parent company Alphabet and several car manufacturers, such as Tesla and Mercedes Benz, are also on the hunt for more space, according to Hudson Pacific, one of the Bay Area's largest landlords.

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Map of Apple's newly-purchased real estate in San Jose

“We’re seeing the Toyotas of the world, the Teslas of the world, BMWs, Mercedes. Ford now is out in the marketplace looking for space,” [Hudson Pacific Properties CEO Victor Coleman] said on the landlord’s quarterly investor call. “I haven’t even mentioned the 400,000 square feet that Google’s looking to take down and the 800,000 square feet that Apple’s looking to take down for their autonomous cars as well.”

While the size Coleman references is fairly big, car production plants tend to be even larger. Tesla's Fremont, California factory is 5.3 million square feet while Ford's Flat Rock, Michigan plant, one of its smaller factories, is 2.9 million square feet. For comparison, Apple's new headquarters is 2.8 million square feet while Google's Mountain View campus is 4.8 million square feet.

In recent months Apple has been leasing more space repeatedly for its car project in the Bay Area. In March, Apple leased a former Pepsi bottling plant in Sunnyvale, California. The Cupertino company has also leased and purchased several smaller, secret buildings likely being used to develop Apple Car technologies. In January, Apple gained approval from the San Jose city council to develop a 4.15 million-square-foot campus in the city.

The WSJ also notes that Apple is in the process of growing its Apple Car team, which had 600 employees last year. Earlier today, it was reported that Apple had hired a former Google employee with experience in electric vehicle charging.

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Top Rated Comments

Jakexb Avatar
107 months ago
Apple has always had a burning desire to be famous.
Maybe one of these days, Apple will make it big and we can say we knew that little, unknown company way back in 2016.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
107 months ago
Starting to think Tesla upped production plans to stave off the Apple Car. Why wait for a model 3 when the Apple car is coming soon?
Apple is probably near the bottom of Tesla's list of concerns. Apple is optimistically targeting 2019 - I doubt they'll move that fast.

GM and BMW are each on track to ship cars with comparable range and price as the Model 3 within a few months. Ford, Honda, and many others are on course to have their own Model 3 clones on the market before the end of 2018.

Tesla is aiming to beat Ford, Honda, and others. GM and BMW will be the first to market, but only by a few months... People know the Model 3 is coming and are probably willing to wait the ~6 months for it after the GM and BMW cars ship.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sputnikv Avatar
107 months ago
why don't they buy land in a secluded area elsewhere, perhaps in another state so it's cheaper, more abundant and more secret?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnswilson1 Avatar
107 months ago
why don't they buy land in a secluded area elsewhere, perhaps in another state so it's cheaper, more abundant and more secret?
Maybe because they don't want to fly workers there daily.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doelcm82 Avatar
107 months ago
When I think Apple and it's car project, I'd bet half of the reason they are creating one is for all the attention they receive. Non stop articles appear almost every day. Apple has always had a burning desire to be famous. Witness the extreme lengths they've gone to in an effort to be accepted in the high end, high visibility fashion world. With money to burn Apple is buying the visibility and accolades they thrive on.
Interesting pseudo-psychiatric analysis of this "Apple" person.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
107 months ago
800k square feet is less than 20 acres. Doesn't strike me as a particularly "large expanse". I get that finding this in a heavily populated area is challenging but...it's really not that big a space.
This is the bay area we're talking about. Land is extremely, absurdly expensive there and in short supply.

20 acres? You pretty much have to be Apple to be able to afford that. :)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)