There has long been a debate about Apple’s secretive automotive project being only about a self-driving system for vehicles rather than a full electric autonomous vehicle. It now looks clear that the latter is the case as Apple hires Tesla’s head of electric powertrains.
Earlier this month, we reported on Tesla losing its VP of Engineering behind its latest electric powertrains; Michael Schwekutsch.
When Schwekutsch joined Tesla back in 2015, we described his background: “Michael Schwekutsch joined Tesla last year to lead powertrain developments after a two-decade long career working for legendary third-party powertrain engineering firms like BorgWarner and GKN Driveline. More recently, he managed programs for the electric and hybrid powertrains of the BMW i8, Porsche 918 Spyder, Fiat 500eV, Volvo XC90, among other popular vehicles."
He is the latest of several top Tesla engineers to join the project, which was for a time thought to only consist of a self-driving system for vehicles after a scale-back of the plan. Now that Schwekutsch, who has exclusively worked on electric powertrains over the last decade, has joined Apple, it is becoming clear that the company plans to bring a complete electric vehicle to market.
- December 17: Apple hires designer Andrew Kim away from Tesla
- August 23: Apple hired scores of ex-Tesla employees this year, and not just for its car project
- June 19: Apple Poaches Ex-Waymo Senior Engineer for Self-Driving Car Technology
Not So Secretive
Although Apple's precise plans are unknown, it's crystal clear Apple plans to directly compete against Tesla.
Apple's Tremendous Advantages
- No debt
- Apple has money making operations to fund a large project
- Apple won't put operations in a tent
- Apple can afford to hire and pay the best
- Quality will rise, bumpers will stay on, paint jobs won't look like a 6-year-old did them, etc.
- The CEO will not make idiotic Tweets or promises, nor will the CEO challenge the SEC.
Tesla cannot possibly survive direct competition from Apple.
The pertinent question is: When does production start?
That's the secret.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock