Apple boosts its 'Project Titan' electric car plan by hiring the cofounder of EV startup Canoo, who also spent 30 years at BMW

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Apple boosts its 'Project Titan' electric car plan by hiring the cofounder of EV startup Canoo, who also spent 30 years at BMW
Apple CEO Tim Cook.Roy Rochlin / WireImage
  • Apple hired a former BMW exec and Canoo cofounder to work on its electric car project, Bloomberg first reported.
  • Ulrich Kranz spent 30 years at BMW before setting up startup Canoo, which he became CEO of in 2019.
  • Apple is reportedly building a self-driving electric car, but has made no public announcements.

Apple has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former BMW executive and cofounder of autonomous electric vehicle startup Canoo, to work on its electric car, Bloomberg first reported.

Apple hired Kranz in recent weeks, about a month after he stepped down as CEO of Canoo, people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg. He would report to Doug Field, formerly of Tesla, who heads up Apple's electric vehicle project, the people said.

The iPhone maker confirmed Kranz's hire to The Verge. Apple did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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Read more: 3 execs leading the startup born of Google's self-driving car project reveal their plan to attack the $800 billion trucking business

Apple plans to build a self-driving electric car by 2024 and has held talks with Hyundai, Kia, and Nissan about partnering, according to multiple reports.

Apple has never publicly confirmed its electric vehicle plans.

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Kranz worked at BMW for 30 years, and was a senior vice-president for around half of that time. While at the company he worked on the development of Minis, sports cars, and the company's first SUV. He also led BMW's Project I, which designed electric vehicles for use in large cities.

Kranz left BMW to spend around three months as chief technology officer at Faraday Future, before setting up self-driving EV startup Canoo in late 2017.

Canoo first said it would start making its EVs available under a subscription model, but has since pivoted to selling commercial vehicles. In December it announced a lineup of delivery vans and is now moving into pickup trucks.

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Kranz became CEO in 2019, and the company went public via a SPAC deal that closed in December.

Apple's electric car is still years away

Apple's self-driving car project is internally known as "Project Titan."

The company has recently patented some vehicle features and Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted in April that the tech giant was working on an electric-vehicle project, but said many of Apple's ideas "never see the light of day."

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Reuters reported that Apple plans to build the car by 2024, while sources told Bloomberg in January that the vehicle was "nowhere near" production and could take between five and seven years to reach the market.

Apple wouldn't be the only phone-maker looking at the booming electric-vehicle market.

In March, Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi said it planned to invest $10 billion into a new smart-electric-vehicle unit over the next 10 years, while sources told Reuters that Huawei's first electric vehicles could arrive later this year.

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