Apple has hired a former BMW executive to help manage the team working on “Project Titan,” the fabled Apple car. According to Bloomberg, Ulrich Kranz was hired by Apple in the “recent weeks” to work with Doug Field, who is in charge of Apple Car development.
Kranz was hired by the technology giant in recent weeks, just a month after stepping down as CEO of Canoo Inc., a self-driving electric car developer. Kranz worked for BMW for 30 years before co-founding Canoo as senior vice president of the group that created the i3 and i8 automobiles.
Kranz is one of Apple’s most important automotive employees, indicating that the iPhone manufacturer is serious about developing a self-driving electric vehicle to compete with Tesla Inc. and other automakers. Kranz will report to Doug Field, who oversaw the development of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 and is now in charge of Apple’s automobile project.
Kranz represents a notable hire for Apple’s car team, and the hire comes right as the team is said to have lost several top managers. The project has shifted in scope multiple times over the years, but Apple is currently focusing on building a “full-fledged electric car, but development remains in the early stages,” Bloomberg reports.
Kranz also is not the first veteran of the automotive industry to join Apple in recent years. Earlier this year, Apple poached Porsche’s VP of chassis development to join the Apple Car team. Apple has also hired a handful of Tesla executives for Project Titan, leading Elon Musk to refer to Apple as the “Tesla graveyard.”
The move is the latest indication that Apple is serious about developing an electric vehicle to compete with Tesla.
Hyundai first stated that it was in talks with Apple to build its automobile early this year, before retracting its statement and stating that it was no longer in negotiations.
Apple has never stated that it is constructing a car, but it has hired automotive experts and conducted self-driving software testing in California. If Apple ever develops a car, it will be a big rival to established manufacturers due to its competence in supply chains, battery technology, and user experience.