Apple was accused by A123 Systems for trying to grab top level engineers as part of its plan to make lithium-ion batteries to use in their brand new Apple car.
Apple is currently discussing a settlement in a current lawsuit that was brought by A123 Systems, a company that makes electric car batteries, which accused the tech giant of trying to steal top engineers in the effort of making a battery division inside of the company.
Apple is researching how to develop an electric car and hired engineers with vast expertise in systems found in automobiles. In June 2014, the company began stealing engineers from A123 that were tasked with many of the company’s very critical projects, claimed the lawsuit from A123.
Apple asked a federal judge from Massachusetts on Tuesday in a court filing for an extension of time before responding to the lawsuit as they are currently exploring a possible resolution. Representatives for A123 and Apple could not be reached immediately to make a comment. A123 Systems filed a lawsuit this February against five ex-employees and Apple.
Building a car would mark a very important shift for the tech giant. It’s true that the company often researches different projects but these projects are most of the times discarded. Apple mostly relies on its expertise in electronic and mobile devices.
The United States government backed the pioneering battery maker A123 with a $249 million grant. In 2012, A123 filed for bankruptcy and since then has been selling different assets in the company.
This is a battery technology which can be used in mobile devices and computers but the company relied on making bigger batteries to be used in bigger machinery, including automobiles. The company hasn’t said anything about what the engineers were working on at the moment they were poached by Apple.
Apple car rumors
The media dubbed the electric car rumored to be in development by Apple, The Apple Car. The automobile is believed to be in the development stage under the name of “Project Titan”.
Apple is believed to have numerous employees working on making an electric car at a secret location around its headquarters in Cupertino. There isn’t much information about the car at the moment but some sources claim it looks sort of like a minivan. It’s not sure whether the car will be equipped with a self-driving feature or not but recent rumors claim that it doesn’t have this kind of technology built in.
The Apple electric car is in the earliest stages of development at the moment and Apple is still recruiting engineers to work on the project and is meeting with different suppliers and car manufacturers. Steve Zadesky, VP of Product Design is leading the project and has the permission to hire 1,000 people, many of them from within the company.
We’re not sure about the design of the Apple Car for now. We can safely say that seeing how Apple desires to expand its mobile operating system beyond the iPad and iPhone, we can presume that it will deeply integrate with these two devices.
Apple is believed to have around 200 people working on the project but its goal is to hire up to 1,000 individuals for the smart car‘s development. Apple has been recruiting over the last months people coming from the automotive industry and other automotive related fields, such as workers that are experts in battery technologies.
Some of the people on Apple’s team have worked for companies such as GM, Ford, Tesla, General Dynamics, Concept Systems, Autoliv, Ogin, MIT Motorsports and, of course, A123.
Apple recently hired a former mechanical engineer from Tesla, David Nelson and a former senior powertrain engineer, John Ireland. Apple also hired Tesla’s former head recruiter Lauren Ciminera. It is believed that Ciminera is currently working on recruiting more people to work on the Apple’s smart car project.
Apple hired five former employees from A123 Systems. The former CTO from the company, Mujeeb Ijaz led a team of researchers responsible for development and research at A123.
Apple car release date
Apple often starts working on projects that don’t make it to the public, which means that there’s a chance that the Apple Car will never see the light of day. However, there’s still a possibility that the company will bring the car to the market, seeing how big the team working on the development of the car is. As it’s still in the very early development, it’s impossible to say if the smart car project will even continue or when the automobile will launch.
It’s pretty safe to say, however, that even if the project continues, we won’t see this car for many years to come. A rumor claims that the tech-giant is pushing the production date for the car to 2020, releasing it after staying in a five-year development stage.