Influential German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung this morning ran a story on Apple’s rumored electric car, code-named Project Titan, claiming that the iPhone maker is running a secret vehicle research and development lab in the heart of Berlin.
Apple’s 15-20 person “top class” team at the site is mostly comprised of engineers hired away from several German car manufacturers, who are described as “progressive thinkers” in their respective fields. The report adds that Apple is said to be planning to use Austria-based automotive contract manufacturer Magna to build its electric vehicle.
Today’s story reiterates previous reporting by big media that Apple’s rumored project is an electric vehicle without self-driving capabilities. Curiously, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that Apple is interested in a vehicle-sharing model used by BMW’s Drive-Now service and European car rental service Sixt.
Magna, which builds high-end, limited-edition vehicles for other car companies, is already contracted to build more than 100,000 vehicles for BMW in the next seven years and previously built the Mini Paceman and Clubman for the German car maker.
The rumor-mill said a year ago that Apple executives had visited Austria to meet with Magna officials to talk about the possibility of having its vehicle manufactured by Magna. And in an interesting twist of fate, Samsung SDI, the South Korean firm’s material and energy solution providing arm, in February 2015 purchased Magna’s battery pack unit for an undisclosed sum.