In the latest sign that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is serious about building an electric car, the iPhone maker has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW who focused exclusively on electric vehicles.
Automaker Hyundai said earlier this year that it was in talks with Apple to manufacture its car before walking its comments back and confirming it is no longer in discussions with the technology company.
Apple has never confirmed it is building an electric car but has hired talent from the automotive industry and tested self-driving software in California. Apple’s car project has been restructured several times, most recently in 2019.
In 2018, Apple hired Doug Field from Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), who worked on the Model 3 electric sedan. With its expertise in supply chains, battery technology and user experience, Apple would be a major competitor to existing automakers if it ever releases a car.
Apple did not say whether Kranz will work on Apple’s car project, which is called Special Projects Group, or SPG, within the company. But Kranz has extensive experience building teams focused on electric vehicles.
Before joining Apple, Kranz was a co-founder of Canoo, which is working on a self-driving electric car. At BMW, he led the company’s electric car development program, which resulted in the electric i3 vehicle, and a hybrid sports car called the i8.