Apple to scrap electric car project, much to Elon Musk’s delight

Apple Inc. plans to wind down its electric car project to shift focus to artificial intelligence (AI), with Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk celebrating the move in his trademark style.

According to Bloomberg, after investing billions of dollars over a decade, Apple scrapped its electric car venture, entitled Project Titan, shocking the nearly 2,000 employees involved.

Originally designed to create a fully autonomous electric vehicle (EV) to compete with Tesla, the project faced multiple challenges since its beginning in 2014. The initiative was hindered by changes in leadership, such as Doug Field’s exit to take up a senior role at Ford Motor Company, and various strategic obstacles.

🫡 🚬 https://t.co/f5wn0y95gx

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 27, 2024

In response, Musk posted a saluting emoji and a cigarette on X, later stating, “The natural state of a car company is dead.”

The natural state of a car company is dead

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 27, 2024

Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Vice President Kevin Lynch, who oversaw the project, informed team members that the initiative would be scrapped. They explained that numerous employees from the car team, referred to as the Special Projects Group (SPG), would be transferred to the artificial intelligence division led by executive John Giannandrea.

Bloomberg reported that there could be potential layoffs, as the tech giant’s car team also has several hundred hardware engineers and vehicle designers. 

News of the California-based firm’s decision was welcomed by investors, as Apple shares rose on Tuesday. The stock rose by about 1%, closing at $182.63 in New York.

What does this mean for electric cars?

The cancellation of the electric car project mirrors wider changes in the automotive sector. As the electric vehicle (EV) market sees a deceleration in sales growth, due to high costs and insufficient charging facilities, leading car manufacturers such as General Motors and Ford are shifting their focus to increasing the production of hybrid vehicles. Even Tesla, a pioneer in the EV industry, has predicted a substantial slowdown in its growth rates.

Despite the doom and gloom in the industry, Tesla still plans to build new electric vehicles in mid-2025. Musk’s company reportedly informed suppliers that it wanted to get production going at the mid-way point next year to deliver on a long-held ambition to build a $25,000 car.

It is now vying for dominance in the world’s largest automobile market against Chinese EV manufacturer BYD, employing an aggressive marketing strategy in China.

Featured image: Canva

Suswati Basu

Freelance journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award.

With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News
and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google.

Her career also includes a seven-year tenure at the leading AI company Dataminr, where she led the Europe desk and launched the company’s first employee resource group for disabilities. Before this, Suswati worked as a journalist in China for four years, investigating censorship and the Great Firewall, and acquired proficiency in several languages.

In recent years, Suswati has been nominated for six awards, including the Independent Podcast Awards, International Women’s Podcast Awards, and the Anthem Awards for her literary social affairs show.

Her areas of speciality span a wide range, including technology, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), social politics, mental health, and nonfiction books.

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