Apple's Car Program Loses Boss, Under Hiring Freeze


Liviu Tudoran's "Apple iMove" design study

Liviu Tudoran's "Apple iMove" design study

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According to a story from Apple Insider, Apple's Project Titan car development program is experiencing some issues.

The story says that Steve Zadesky, the Apple engineer that was in charge of Project Titan, is leaving the company for "personal reasons." It isn't clear if a concurrent hiring freeze is related to Zadesky's departure. However, all of this has taken place after an early year review by Apple design chief Jony Ive in which he "expressed his displeasure" with the group's headway.

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Last we heard in September, Apple had some 600 people working on the project and was actively hiring people from Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU], and battery supplier A123 Systems, among others. The Apple Insider report says that number is up to 1,000.

Progress, however, is still moving forward. In early January, we learned that Apple had registered the Internet domain names apple.car, apple.cars, and apple.auto.

The initial thought was that Apple would develop its own car and have final engineering ready by 2019. However, the Apple Insider story says that Apple has looked into partnering with BMW for the project so it could use the BMW i3 as the basis for the new car. The i3 features a carbon fiber structure that reduces weight and improves efficiency. For its part, BMW has thus far not agreed to get involved with Apple.

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