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Apple reportedly cancels electric car development to focus on AI

Published Feb 27th, 2024 2:37PM EST
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple’s electric car may be dead in the water. The decade-long project has reportedly been nixed after Apple began moving its resources to work on generative AI systems. The decision was supposedly shared internally this week.

Unnamed sources told Bloomberg that the decision was shared by Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, the vice president of technology at Apple.

The sources say that the executives said that the team working on the car, the Special Projects Group, or SPG, will soon be shifted to Apple’s artificial intelligence division under John Giannandrea. This shift is likely being made to help push Apple’s generative AI development forward.

The work on Apple’s EV project will continue to wind down. This team has hundreds of hardware engineers and car designers, Bloomberg notes, but it’s unclear how many will survive incoming layoffs from the shift in development resources.

Open AI's ChatGPT start page.
Open AI’s ChatGPT start page. Image source: Jonathan S. Geller

It really isn’t surprising to see Apple making a shift like this. While the company has been working on an electric vehicle for years, it doesn’t appear to have been any closer to releasing anything than it was five years ago. That said, generative AI is a growing market that Apple will undoubtedly want to find ways to capitalize on, especially as its competitors, like Google and Samsung, continue to find ways to utilize it.

An Apple-designed electric vehicle has always been a bit of a pipe dream, too, especially since Apple’s latest imagining saw the car likely priced at around $100,000, which would make it hard to compete against other electric vehicles that are already more established in the market. Further, Apple Car’s release target had slipped back as far as 2028.

That said, seeing the project cashed out like this is absolutely disappointing for anyone who was hoping Apple would create a truly innovative EV. Further, it is always sad to see the job losses that development shifts like this bring with it.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.