Apple lays off dozens of staff amid reports it is ditching EV plans
Apple has axed a large number of staff from its top-secret electric car division, reports claim.
While competing companies are ploughing ahead with pioneering EV technology, Apple is said to be rethinking its so-called Project Titan, three people informed of the 'reboot' plan have told the New York Times.
Titan has been in progress for the past two years, with the tech giant pouring resources into its development, and even bringing back Bob Mansfield, former Apple senior vice-president of technologies, to head it up.
However, mere months after Mansfield's July appointment, dozens of the 1,000-plus-strong team have been laid off, and parts of the project closed down.
Despite Apple never officially acknowledging that it was working on a vehicle, the model was slated for a release as early as 2019/2020, and was expected to be similar to fully electric and semi-autonomous Tesla models, as opposed to Google's completely self-driving prototypes.
This move doesn't necessarily mean the company is abandoning vehicle technology altogether, with the reports suggesting that Mansfield may be directing the project away from developing its own vehicle to focus on the underlying autonomous vehicle technology.
It could therefore partner with an established carmaker to make its entrance into the vehicle market.
For a company known for its pioneering and self-sufficient products, this would be a dramatic strategy shift.
But whatever Apple is planning vehicle-wise, it is facing stiff competition from the likes of Alphabet – Google's parent company – and Uber, both of which are well into on-road testing of their tech.
A number of traditional carmakers, including Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, have also expressed plans to put self-driving vehicles on the road within five years.