Project Titan: Apple hires Tesla’s former head of powertrains in effort to bring electric car to market

“Earlier this month, we reported on Tesla losing its VP of Engineering behind its latest electric powertrains; Michael Schwekutsch,” Fred Lambert reports for Electrek. “We described his departure from Tesla as a big loss for the company since he is amongst the most experienced engineers who have brought electric powertrain programs to market, not just at Tesla, but in the industry as a whole.”

“Now Electrek learns from separate sources that he joined Apple’s Special Project Group,” Lambert reports, “which includes the Cupertino company’s Project Titan division.”

“He is the latest of several top Tesla engineers to join the project,” Lambert reports, “Now that Schwekutsch, who has exclusively worked on electric powertrains over the last decade, has joined Apple, it is becoming clear that the company plans to bring a complete electric vehicle to market. Schwekutsch will join back Doug Field, who was a longtime engineering executive at Tesla before going back to Apple to lead their car project last year alongside Bob Mansfield, who Apple brought out of retirement in 2016 to lead its Project Titan car team. Electrek has learned that Apple is also hiring several other former Tesla employees in what appears to be another wave of the poaching war between the two companies.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: More proof that:

Apple is working on actual vehicles, not just some “vehicleOS” they’d license out to others (which was always a stupid proposition, as anyone who’s studied how Apple works for more than 3 minutes knows implicitly).MacDailyNews, August 28, 2018

I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004

• In order to build the best products, you have to own the primary technologies. Steve felt that if Apple could do that — make great products and great tools for people — they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company.Apple CEO Tim Cook, March 18, 2015

Project Titan: Apple confirms layoffs for 190 autonomous vehicle employees – February 27, 2019
Apple sharply increases testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads – February 13, 2019
Titan: Apple’s secret autonomous vehicle project is much bigger than people think – January 25, 2019
Apple dismisses more than 200 employees from Project Titan autonomous vehicle project – January 24, 2019
Apple hires designer Andrew Kim away from Tesla – December 17, 2018
Apple Car rumor roundup: Project Titan and what it means – September 1, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to launch revolutionary Apple Car within 5-7 years – August 15, 2018
Doug Field, former Tesla engineering chief, returns to Apple – August 10, 2018
Apple’s Project Titan is still a go, says analyst – June 28, 2018
Apple’s autonomous vehicle fleet grows to 62 vehicles in California – May 29, 2018
Apple’s autonomous vehicle project may be closer to fruition than it appears – May 25, 2018
Apple’s Bob Mansfield reboots Apple Car project, lays off several dozen employees – September 10, 2016
Apple hires founder of QNX with Apple Car project increasing focus on self-driving software – July 28, 2016
Apple taps Bob Mansfield to oversee Apple Car project – July 25, 2016


    1. 100% agree with this comment. Apple reacts slowly to these types of issues and, takes them even longer to acknowledge them at all. I would not be a purchaser of an Apple Car for this reason alone. My 2017 MBP is garbage due to keyboard. If they don’t go back to the original keyboard I’ll never buy any laptop computer from Apple again.

      1. A couple of points:
        Car companies are pretty appalling at rectifying poorly designed or annoying aspects of their cars expecially when the technology is new(ish). Hey when it’s engines were useless at meeting exhaust regulations the engineering geniuses at the largest car company in the World, VW decided to rather than correct the problem to spend years illegally covering it up. Yep they are far more reliable and trustworthy than Apple… NOT.

        The people working on the Titan project have nothing to do with those who are working on MBP keyboards so comparing Apples with Cucumbers is pretty irrelevant. After all as the article says ‘exclusively worked on electric power trains’ just might be a clue on the matter of his skill base. Or perhaps some visualise Apples electric car being steered by a sticky Qwerty rather than a steering wheel or eventually an AI.

        1. I get that but the keyboard issue points to a larger problem with overall quality control across all of Apple right now, software and hardware.

          It’s like when Van Halen put the “no brown M&Ms” in their rider. It wasn’t that they had anything against that color, it was to see if the promoter bothered with the smallest details overall. If they couldn’t get that right, what was to say they’d get the major items right?

          “As lead singer David Lee Roth explained in a 2012 interview, the bowl of M&Ms was an indicator of whether the concert promoter had actually read the band’s complicated contract.

          “Van Halen was the first to take 850 par lamp lights — huge lights — around the country,”Roth said. “At the time, it was the biggest production ever.” In many cases, the venues were too outdated or inadequately prepared to set up the band’s sophisticated stage.

          “If I came backstage, having been one of the architects of this lighting and staging design, and I saw brown M&Ms on the catering table, then I guarantee the promoter had not read the contract rider, and we would have to do a serious line check” of the entire stage setup, Roth said.”

        2. Your anti-VW screed needs some references. It sounds to me like you don’t know the full story.

          Do you also know that almost all diesel manufacturers were fined and/or required to leave the market because of similar, if not worse, EPA violations?

          VW is a huge company and it is completely unfair to blame the honest hardworking people working on excellent trustworthy products for the malfeasance of a small group of corrupt individuals. Much like you claimed with keyboards!

          Back to the subject: Apple has zero credibility in high power devices and thermal management. Everyone knows it ever since they cooked their legs with the original TiBook. There is nothing Apple makes today that indicates they would ever be successful with any kind of powertrain or vehicle. Hiring one powertrain guy signifies little since Project Titan has been a train wreck and a money pit for years.

          My prediction: Apple has zero intention of offering any vehicle to the public. Apple is merely attempting to get worldwide safety agencies to approve a self-driving photography car to bring its Maps into some semblance of usefulness. Apple doesn’t want to have to hire the thousands of people it would take to drive around vehicles all day so instead it will hire thousands of people and blow billions on its own proprietary terrestrial map drone. Also, instead of using modest priced vehicles, Apple will use Lexus cars because high dollar aesthetic is more important than “it just works”.

        3. I wasn’t comparing cars to keyboards in the least. My point is Apple as a company has a horrific record of acknowledge Ing issues. I for one will go as far as to say they hide them for as long as they can. Who in their right mind is going to buy an automobile from Apple. Not me

  1. Electric cars… How’s that been working for everybody that has tried. Cost of vehicles, limited driving range between charge and no infrastructure for “charging stations”. Plus, how long will it take to recharge an electric car, Apple or others?

    The only thing this will guarantee are more cackling laughter from people recording exploits similar to YouTube vids like this…

    1. smh. For most people, charging time for an electric car is about 17 to 20 seconds.

      3 seconds to locate and open the charging port flap
      9 seconds to take the charging cable
      3 seconds to properly align the ports
      2 seconds to check the charging LED
      2–5 seconds to stand there before you realize you don’t have stand there.
      How long is your car parked at home in your garage?

      Electric cars, for most people, have all-day battery life… which really is all you need.

      1. “All-day” generally means 50-100 miles. But if I’m driving from San Diego to Tucson, based on your “all day” rule, that sounds like a 3-day trip.

        Until EV’s can be “refueled” at approximately the same speed as gasoline-powered vehicles, they will not supplant them.

    2. I wonder how we ever went from horses to cars considering the problems were substantially more obstructive than those you point out. Societies stagnate when they can no longer see the future and thrive on notions of the present. One thing is Absolutely certain inside 25 years in the parts of the world that have vision, they will be laughing at the current lust for rediculous old fashioned Complex archaic IC technology that’s well past its sell by date. By then of course thanks to Visionaries aided by the open minded. range will be comfortably 300 plus miles, infrastructure everywhere and recharging just minutes rather than hours for at least half that range. All that with superior acceleration that already modern IC, no revival out gears and other complications, superior internal space, better handling and drivetrain simplicity that we can only dream of today. And all at a cost similar to or better than an IC car over its lifetime. Oh and for the rest no damn disgusting fumes and noise pollution. Sounds like heaven to me.

  2. Too bad they were counting on throwing an AirPower pad upside down on the hood/bonnet of the thing to recharge it. Come to think of it, do they know how to recharge a car at all?

  3. Future Apple stores to have iCar showrooms and charging stations, this, along with satellite charging stations in relatively nearby communities?

  4. Let me get this right, the company can’t figure out how to interlink multiple coils to recharge some pocket devices but at some point in the future, I’m suppose to trust they can craft a vehicle carrying me and my family…..right……………….

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