Apple scraps decade-long electric vehicle development process

  • Apple reportedly cancels decade-long EV project, shifts staff to AI division after internal meeting.
  • Decision follows speculation and significant EV investment, aligning with subdued market demand.
  • Strategic shift to generative AI reflects tech landscape changes amid waning EV interest.

Apple reportedly halts its electric vehicle ambitions, shifting focus to AI innovations instead

Apple has reportedly abandoned its decade-long pursuit of constructing electric vehicles (EVs). Internally, they dubbed the project the Special Projects Group. Under the stewardship of CEO Tim Cook’s Project Titan, it engaged around 2,000 employees. Apple had invested significant resources, running into billions, for research and development.

The team was initially rumoured to be developing a fully autonomous vehicle devoid of traditional controls. Reports indicate that a viable vehicle was years away from realisation. The decision to halt the project was disclosed during an internal meeting. This involved plans for layoffs and the reassignment of numerous employees to Apple’s artificial intelligence (AI) division. Many have hypothesised that this division is seen as more immediately profitable for the company.

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This development unfolds against the backdrop of challenges in the EV market. Prominent players like Ford, General Motors, and Rivian face production setbacks and workforce reductions. Tesla anticipates weaker sales growth in 2024.

Although Apple never officially acknowledged its automotive ambitions, the project had been a subject of speculation. Apple’s recruitment of executives from renowned car manufacturers and the acquisition of the autonomous vehicle startup in 2019 added to the intrigue.

Apple’s shift away from the electric car project aligns with a strategic emphasis on generative AI initiatives. Tim Cook recently announced a substantial investment of time and resources into artificial intelligence. He pledged to deliver generative AI features to consumers within the upcoming year.

The decision reflects a response to the shifting dynamics of the market. As with Aston Martin’s announcement of its delayed EV ambitions, the market is currently too unstable. Apple’s redirection towards AI will undoubtedly influence its future trajectory. For a company like Apple, with its fingers in many pies, perhaps a step in emobility seemed too much of a departure for now. 

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