Apple cancels plans to build an electric car

Apple will wind down its team working on electric cars, according to Bloomberg. The news signals an end to Apple’s secretive effort to build a car to rival Tesla.


Apple ends its endeavor to build an electric car

Apple has decided to wind down its team, known as the Special Projects Group, which was working on the development of electric cars. This move indicates that Apple's long-time effort to create a car to compete with Tesla has come to an end.

The Special Projects Group employed thousands of employees, but building a car was not in line with Apple's core business of electronics and online services. This decision raises questions as to how Apple plans to proceed with manufacturing a vehicle.

Reports about Apple's interest in building a car first surfaced in 2014, and since then, the company has been recruiting automotive engineers and other professionals from the auto industry. Apple has been known to operate a program with autonomous Apple-owned cars equipped with sensors and safety drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Reorganization and reshuffling of Apple's car project

Over the years, Apple's Special Projects Group has undergone several reorganizations, including layoffs in 2019, when employees were moved to other divisions within the company. It is speculated that some employees from the car division may now be shifted to a generative artificial intelligence team.

Despite canceling its electric car plans, Apple still has other automotive-related projects, such as its CarPlay software, which is installed in 80% of new vehicles. Furthermore, the company continues to invest in health technologies, with a focus on the Apple Watch, and recently released its first virtual reality headset, the Vision Pro.

While Apple's car project was kept under wraps, some of its Asian competitors in the smartphone industry have made significant investments in designing and potentially manufacturing cars. Xiaomi, a maker of Android smartphones, recently announced its entry into the electric vehicle market, and Foxconn, Apple's main manufacturing partner, has expressed its intention to build electric vehicles.

Apple's secretive approach to the car project

Apple and CEO Tim Cook have never publicly acknowledged the existence of the car project, instead referring to it as work on "autonomous systems." In 2016, Cook cryptically responded to a shareholder by saying, "it’s going to be Christmas Eve for a long time."

In terms of financial disclosure, Apple has not revealed the specific amount it has invested in the car project. However, the company's overall research and development budget saw a 14% increase in 2023, totaling approximately $30 billion. This budget includes investments in new software and features for existing products like the iPhone.

Despite the cancellation of the electric car plans, Apple's shares only saw a slight increase of less than 1% upon the news. Apple declined to comment on the matter.