Apple is looking to diversify its business into electric car production, possibly by as soon as 2020. The electric car efforts were revealed in Feb. 19 reports by The New York Times and by Bloomberg based on anonymous sources who described the project as growing and in a “prototype phase.”
The Times reported that Apple has assembled a team of about 200 people from within Apple and from potential competitors to develop technologies for an electric car.
Apple’s electric car-related hires have come from companies that specialize in battery and automotive technologies, such as A123 Systems, Tesla and Toyota, the Times reported.
Some of that hiring was revealed in a lawsuit filed against Apple this month in Massachusetts federal court, which alleged that Apple “embarked on an aggressive campaign” in June to poach employees from A123 Systems, a Livonia, Mich., company that makes electric car batteries.
For deep-pocketed Apple, such a project could be a way to invest some of its huge cash reserves that currently exceeds $178 billion without making a deep hole in it.
In January, Apple announced its best-ever financial quarter, posting $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in net profits for the first fiscal quarter of 2015 due to massive global sales of its latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, Mac computers apps and more.
Electric cars aren’t the only electrical technology the company is investing in. Earlier in February, Apple unveiled its plans to purchase $848 million worth of solar-generated power for its corporate use over 25 years from a solar power facility that is being built in Arizona by First Solar as part of its goal to combat climate change by cutting its reliance on fossil fuels.