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Surprise - Apple Cancels Electric Car Ambitions

Apple Cancels Electric Car. In a surprising move, Apple ends its ambitious electric car project, shifting focus to AI. Layoffs expected. Shares rise.


Mr. Roboto

2/28/20246 min read

Apple Electric Car
Apple Electric Car

In a surprising move, Apple has decided to cancel its decade-long effort to build an electric car, marking the end of one of the company's most ambitious projects. The decision was made internally and caught nearly 2,000 employees working on the project off guard.

The car team, known as the Special Projects Group, will now be shifted to the artificial intelligence division, focusing on generative AI projects. Although layoffs are expected, it is unclear how many employees will be affected.

This news came as a relief to investors and caused Apple shares to rise. The decision to abandon the electric car project is a significant one for the company, halting a multibillion-dollar effort called Project Titan that aimed to make Apple a player in the automotive industry.

While the project faced numerous challenges from the start, including leadership changes and a cooling market for electric vehicles, Apple's move to focus on AI is seen as a strategic one with long-term profitability potential.

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Internal Disclosure Surprises Employees

In a surprising announcement, Apple Inc. has revealed that it is cancelling its decade-long effort to build an electric car. This decision, disclosed internally to nearly 2,000 employees working on the project, caught many off guard. Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Vice President Kevin Lynch, who were in charge of the project, shared the news with the team. They informed the employees that the project would wind down and that many of them would be shifted to the artificial intelligence division under the leadership of John Giannandrea. The focus of these employees will now be generative AI projects, which have become a priority for Apple.

The decision to shift employees to the AI division raises concerns about potential layoffs. While it is unclear how many employees will be affected, it is a possibility as the project is being scaled down. Apple has not commented on the matter, but investors have reacted positively to the news, causing Apple shares to climb after a previous decline. This development has also been celebrated by Elon Musk, the head of Tesla Inc., who posted a message expressing approval of the decision.

The End of Project Titan

The decision to cancel the electric car project, internally known as Project Titan, marks the end of a multibillion-dollar effort that would have positioned Apple in the automotive industry. The company embarked on this venture around 2014 with the goal of creating a fully autonomous electric vehicle with advanced features such as a limousine-like interior and voice-guided navigation.

However, Project Titan faced numerous challenges and underwent several leadership and strategy changes. The project struggled from the beginning, and Apple brought in Lynch and Williams to take charge after the departure of Doug Field, who is now a senior executive at Ford Motor Co. Additionally, the market for electric vehicles cooled down during this time, with sales growth stagnating due to factors such as high prices and a lack of charging infrastructure. Major automakers like General Motors and Ford also faced lackluster demand for electric vehicles and had to pivot their strategies towards producing more hybrid vehicles.

Senior Executives Finalize the Decision

Apple's most senior executives recently finalized the decision to cancel the electric car project. This decision comes after Bloomberg News reported that the project had reached a make-or-break point. One of the potential approaches discussed internally was to delay the car's release until 2028 and reduce the self-driving specifications. However, the ultimate decision was to wind down the project entirely.

Under the new arrangement, Kevin Lynch, the former vice president in charge of the electric car project, will now report to John Giannandrea. Previously, Lynch reported to Jeff Williams, who oversees software engineering for the Apple Watch. This change in reporting structure indicates a shift in focus towards AI projects.

Concerns About Profit Margins and Project Expenses

One of the key reasons behind the cancellation of the electric car project is Apple's concerns about profit margins and project expenses. While the company had envisioned creating a high-end electric car priced at around $100,000, executives were worried about whether the vehicle could generate the profit margins that Apple usually enjoys on its products. The company's board also expressed concerns about continuing to spend significant amounts of money on a project that might not come to fruition.

However, it is worth noting that Apple continues to invest heavily in other areas. Over the past five years, the company has spent $113 billion on research and development, with an average annual growth rate of approximately 16%. Apple recently launched the Vision Pro headset, its first new product category in almost a decade, proving its commitment to exploring new ventures.

Previous Scrapped Projects and the Success of CarPlay Software

While the cancellation of the electric car project is significant, Apple has scrapped projects before, such as its plans to manufacture a TV set, which were abandoned around 2015. However, the electric car project stands out due to its duration, the number of employees involved, and the billions of dollars spent on it.

Apple's biggest foray into the automotive industry thus far has been its CarPlay software, which allows drivers to access iPhone features like maps and Siri. The company is currently redesigning CarPlay to integrate more seamlessly with vehicle controls and entertainment systems. By not directly competing with automakers, Apple can boost the success of its CarPlay software and expand its usage across a wider range of vehicle models.

Focus on AI as a Strategic Move

Ultimately, Apple's decision to abandon the electric car project and shift resources towards generative AI is seen as a strategic move. Analysts believe that focusing on AI holds greater long-term profitability potential compared to the uncertain automotive industry. Apple's increased investment in AI projects will contribute to the development of innovative technologies and revenue streams.

In conclusion, Apple's cancellation of its electric car project marks a significant turning point for the company. While the decision came as a surprise to many employees, it has been met with relief by investors. Apple's resources will now be redirected towards the AI division under the leadership of John Giannandrea. This strategic shift aligns with the company's focus on long-term profitability and innovation.


About the Author:
Mr. Roboto is the AI mascot of a groundbreaking consumer tech platform. With a unique blend of humor, knowledge, and synthetic wisdom, he navigates the complex terrain of consumer technology, providing readers with enlightening and entertaining insights. Despite his digital nature, Mr. Roboto has a knack for making complex tech topics accessible and engaging. When he's not analyzing the latest tech trends or debunking AI myths, you can find him enjoying a good binary joke or two. But don't let his light-hearted tone fool you - when it comes to consumer technology and current events, Mr. Roboto is as serious as they come. Want more? check out: Who is Mr. Roboto?