Bloomberg reports that former BMW executive and CEO of Canoo Inc. Ulrich Kranz has joined Apple Car division, Project Titan, to develop Cupertino tech giant’s first autonomous electric vehicle. Kranz is hired after three key executives left the company for unknown reasons; Benjamin Lyon of engineering, Jaime Waydo of safety systems, and Dave Scott of robotics.
Cupertino tech giant began Project Titan in 2014 to build its passenger electric automobile. However, internal issues dampened the project’s progress and it was in abeyance by 2016. The company’s focus on Apple Car revived in 2020 when reports of new hiring and patents were circulated in the industry. Apple has not yet officially acknowledged the existence of the project. And now the company is joined by the former VP of the development team of i3 and i8 BMW models.
Former BMW executive Ulrich Kranz joins Project Titan to build Apple Car, an autonomous electric vehicle
People familiar with the matter told the publisher that Kranz will report to Doug Field. Previously, Field led the development of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 and is currently the head of Apple Car’s ‘Project Titan’. With his experience and expertise, Kranz is likely to play a key role in the progress of Apple Car.
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.
Kranz left BMW in 2016 and soon became chief technology officer at Faraday Future, an electric vehicle startup based in Los Angeles. He stayed only three months, before co-founding Canoo. Both firms have struggled with their technology and ability to produce vehicles, while Canoo reportedly discussed selling itself to Apple and other companies.- Bloomberg
Apple has a healthy working relationship with BMW, it recently launched digital Car Keys for BMW models in iOS. Previously, the CFO Nicolas Peters of the German automobile manufacturer, expressed that he does not feel threatened by rumors of Apple Car and Apple joining the automobile industry and also said that “I sleep very peacefully. Competition is a wonderful thing – it helps motivate others. BMW is in a very strong position and wants to remain in a leading position in the industry.”
Apple is reportedly working on an advanced LFP, or lithium iron phosphate battery to power its autonomous electric vehicle which will give the car a longer range and would be less likely to overheat. Veteran tech analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo shared that Apple would launch its electric car by 2025 with faster recharge, “offers a range over 500km on a full charge, zero to 100kph acceleration in 3.5 seconds, a top speed of 260kph, and charging to 80% in just 18 minutes.”
“We predict that Apple will launch the Apple Car in 2025 at the earliest. The new iPhone takes about 18–24 months from initial specification definition to mass production based on experience. Given the longer development time, higher validation requirements, more complicated supply chain management, and very different sales/after-sales service channels for the automobiles, we believe that Apple, which lacks car building experience, is already on a tight schedule if it wants to launch the Apple Car in 2025.”