Apple to wind down efforts to build electric car, focus on AI projects

Apple Inc. is cancelling its ambitious project to build an electric car, after decade-long efforts. The company plans to shift employees working on the project to its AI division

Updated - February 28, 2024 05:42 pm IST

Published - February 28, 2024 05:13 pm IST

Apple is winding down a decade-long effort to build an electric car in a move expected to impact some 2,000 employees working on the project. 

Apple is winding down a decade-long effort to build an electric car in a move expected to impact some 2,000 employees working on the project.  | Photo Credit: Reuters

Apple is winding down a decade-long effort to build an electric car in a move expected to impact some 2,000 employees working on the project.

The company made the disclosure internally on Tuesday, according to people with knowledge of the matter, abandoning one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the company, a report from Bloomberg said.

The decision was shared within the company by Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, a vice president in charge of the project the report said.

The move will impact 2,000 employees working on the car team, known as the Special Projects Group, or SPG. Employees will reportedly be shifted to the artificial intelligence division and will focus on generative AI projects, a key priority for the company. The team that consists of several hundred hardware engineers and vehicle designers is likely to be subject to layoffs, however, it is unclear how many.

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The decision is a major move from the company that has been working on developing a car since 2014. The initial aim of the project was to develop a fully autonomous vehicle with a limousine-like interior and voice-guided navigation.

However, since the start the company struggled with the project, changing the team’s leadership and strategy several times over the course of the decade. And though Apple had road tested its systems since 2017, a cooldown in the EV market and pressure from investors may have prompted the company to abandon the project.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to the news on X with a saluting emoji and a cigarette.

This is not the first time Apple has shelved a project, and the company continues to push into the auto industry with its CarPlay software that allows drivers to access iPhone features like maps and Siri. Earlier, the company had scrapped plans to make a TV set that was abandoned around 2015.

The company has also invested heavily in other areas, launching its Vision Pro Headset, its first new product category in almost a decade.

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