Apple Bids Farewell to Its EV Project

Apple Bids Farewell to Its EV Project

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: February 28, 2024

Apple is halting its decade-long endeavor to develop an electric car, according to several media reports.

The announcement, made internally on Tuesday, took nearly 2,000 project employees by surprise, with COO Jeff Williams and VP Kevin Lynch conveying the decision to wind down the effort.

Employees from Apple's Special Projects Group (SPG) responsible for the project will transition to the company's AI division, focusing on generative AI projects under John Giannandrea's leadership.

Layoffs will also take place under the decision, but it remains unknown how many employees will be affected.

Apple Took a Tough Decision

The move signals a strategic shift for the tech giant, which faced challenges in the highly competitive electric vehicle market.

Despite the decision, investors responded positively, with Apple's shares climbing slightly at Tuesday's closing bell. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also expressed support for the decision, acknowledging it with a post on X.

Apple's decision to abandon Project Titan marks the end of a multibillion-dollar effort that began in 2014.

The project, aimed at developing a fully autonomous electric vehicle with innovative features, faced numerous hurdles from the outset. Leadership changes and strategy shifts characterized the project's difficult journey, with Lynch and Williams taking charge in recent years.

Despite extensive testing and collaboration with designers from renowned car manufacturers, Apple struggled to overcome challenges in self-driving technology in the current market dynamics.

The cooling demand for electric vehicles, coupled with manufacturing bottlenecks, further complicated the iPhone maker's aspirations in the auto industry.

Apple Focuses to Bank on AI

Apple's decision underscores a strategic pivot toward AI, which promises long-term profitability potential compared to the uncertain prospects of the EV market.

The company's focus on AI aligns with its existing initiatives, including CarPlay software, designed to integrate seamlessly with vehicle controls and entertainment systems.

By prioritizing AI development, Apple aims to strengthen its position in the tech industry while continuing to deliver new products and services to consumers worldwide.

While the cancellation represents a setback, Apple remains committed to innovation, spending an estimated $113 billion in research and development in the past five years and averaging an annual growth rate of 16%.

Recently, Apple released Vision Pro, its first mixed-reality headset, and aims to bolster that sector.

"Apple’s decision to abandon electric cars and shift resources toward generative AI is a good strategic move, we believe, given the long-term profitability potential of AI revenue streams versus cars," noted Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Anurag Rana and Andrew Girard.

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