Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California October 16, 2014 (representational picture)Reuters

This is probably the first time Apple has been in the news for reasons that aren't related to the launch of an iPhone or an iPad. Or for that matter, in the news for all the wrong reasons.

The company did receive some bad press following the previous high-profile celebrity nude hacks (and the exploits of Fappening). Now, the company is in the news for its secret electric car.

Apple is planning to start producing its electric vehicle as early as 2020, claimed Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter. If the information is indeed true, it might seem like a unrealistic target for a mobile devices maker with little-to-no experience in car manufacturing.

Apparently, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker is pushing its "car team" of about 200 people to meet the new goal, Bloomberg reported. However, Apple may decide to scrap its car-making effort, or delay it, if executives grow unhappy with its progress, the news agency cited the people as saying.

"That's the inflection point -- the proving ground -- that brings on the electric age," Steve LeVine, author of "The Powerhouse," a book about the automotive battery industry, said on Bloomberg TV Thursday. "Now you have Apple coming in and this is critical mass. Was GM really going to be able to match Tesla? Apple can."

It was only last week that reports revealed Apple has a secret lab that's working on the creation of an Apple-branded electric car.

In fact, electric-car battery maker A123 Systems has also sued Apple for poaching top engineers to build a large-scale battery division, according to a court filing, offering further evidence that the iPhone maker may indeed be developing a new car.

Around June 2014, Apple began assertively hunting for A123 engineers who were tasked with leading some of the company's most critical projects, the lawsuit stated. The engineers then jumped ship to pursue similar programs at Apple, in violation of their employment agreements.

However, an aggressive deadline of 2020 to produce the cars is something that has got everyone talking about the new car again. While automakers generally spend five to seven years developing a car, the latest decision from Apple, as analysed by Bloomberg, is something to counter other prominent electric car makers.

The reports states that the decision "underscores the project's aggressive goals and could set the stage for a battle for customers with Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Co., both of which are targeting a 2017 release of an electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000."

In the meantime, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, whose company is also planning to release its own affordable electric car by 2017.

Musk told Bloomberg recently that Apple is offering his employees $250,000 signing bonuses and a 60 percent salary increase to jump the ship.

While it will still take some time before we are able to deduce if entering the automotive industry was too big a jump for the smartphone maker, more details are expected to arrive shortly.

Watch out this space for more updates on Apple's electric car.


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