Apple has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW’s electric car division, to help lead its own vehicle efforts, according to people familiar with the situation.
The technology giant hired Kranz in recent weeks, about a month after he stepped down as chief executive officer of Canoo Inc., a developer of self-driving electric vehicles. Before co-founding Canoo, Kranz was senior vice president of the group that developed the i3 and i8 cars at BMW, where he worked for 30 years.
Kranz will report to Doug Field, who led development of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple’s car project, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.
Following successful stints at BMW’s Mini division and teams working on sports cars and SUVs, Kranz was asked to run Project I, a battery-powered vehicle skunkworks started in 2008. It yielded the all-electric i3 compact and the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car. The former was panned by design critics, and production was very limited on the latter.
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook was spotted checking out a BMW i8 outside Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters in 2014, and company executives have been known to visit BMW offices in recent years.
MacDailyNews Take: Someday, some way, we’ll be driving “Apple Cars.”