The electric car community may have only speculated before, but now it seems almost certain: Apple cars could be on the way.
On March 7th it was reported that Michael Schwekutsch had amicably severed ties with Tesla, though at the time it seemed unclear where he would head next. “After almost 3.5 years, yesterday I have decided to leave Tesla. I had an incredible time with a team that is by far the most talented that I ever worked with. Tesla’s products are hands down the most efficient and exciting EVs in the world. And I’ve enjoyed working at a company with such a great passion, with such incredible customers and with a mission that is so ‘electrifying.’ All the best, Tesla!”
But the former Vice President of Engineering and the brain behind the development of Tesla’s electric powertrain programs quickly found new employment with Apple’s Special Project Group. The Special Project Group also includes the company’s Project Titan division, which focuses on self-driving vehicles.
Apple Cars & the Special Project Group
For a time it seemed that Apple’s Special Project Group existed only to produce a self-driving system for vehicles. But with the hiring of Schwekutsch and several other former Tesla employees, it seems nearly certain that the tech giant is planning on building an electric vehicle from the ground up and bringing it to the market. He joins longtime Tesla engineering executive Doug Field and other Tesla employees who have since left the electric car manufacturer to join the Apple team. Though the Group experienced some layoffs in January, this fresh blood could be the transfusion needed for a fresh start.
But does this really mean that Apple is back to producing its rumored electric vehicle? Only time will tell. There are some who believe that Apple partnered with VW to build autonomous shuttles to ferry employees between its offices. The high-profile recruitment of Schwekutsch, however, appears somewhat unusual for such a focused effort. Plus the fact that he both left Tesla and joined Apple in March indicates that he may have been poached.
Michael Schwekutsch’s Experience
Schwekutsch spent over two decades working specifically on the development of electric drivetrains. He played pivotal roles on the evolution of the second-generation Tesla Roadster and the Semi, as well as contributing to the BMW i8, the Porsche 918 Spyder, and Fiat 500e, among other hybrids and electric vehicles. It seems only natural that he continue to do so at Apple.
Elon Musk and Steve Jobs: Harsh Tech Legends
Both Tesla and Apple were built by two of the most successful business minds of our time: Elon Musk and the late Steve Jobs. Musk made a name for himself with the development of electric cars, rockets, and the Hyperloop. Jobs founded Apple and created the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, all staples of today’s society. But while bright and shrewd, both men also have a history of being hard men. Both have documented accounts of their brutal verbal humiliation of others. Such behavior tarnishes their otherwise incredible contributions.