Apple Continues to Strengthen their 'Project Titan' Team by hiring a Former BMW Electric Car Executive
Apple's Project Titan has taken a major leap forward in 2021 with major new hires. Starting in January we learned that Apple had been hiring "a string of key hires from Tesla." One of the hires was former Tesla Engineering VP Steve MacManus who reportedly leads a development group with several employees focused on car interiors, fabrics, car testing and vehicle manufacturing.
A second major hire was revealed in February 2021 in our report titled "Apple has reportedly hired VP Product Line Cayenne Bei Porsche AG to Advance Apple's Electric Car Vision known as 'Project Titan'." Dr. Manfred Harrer was considered one of the best engineers in the Volkswagen Group.
Today, Apple has once again hired a major industry player to deepen it's executive bench in seeing an electric vehicle come to market.
It's being reported this afternoon that Apple Inc. has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric car division, to help lead its own vehicle efforts, according to people familiar with the situation.
The technology giant hired Kranz in recent weeks, about a month after he stepped down as chief executive officer of Canoo Inc., a developer of self-driving electric vehicles. Before co-founding Canoo, Kranz was senior vice president of the group that developed the i3 and i8 cars at BMW, where he worked for 30 years.
Kranz is one of Apple’s most significant automotive hires, a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a self-driving electric car to rival Tesla Inc. and other carmakers. Kranz will report to Doug Field, who led development of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple’s car project, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.
Following successful stints at BMW’s Mini division and teams working on sports cars and SUVs, Kranz was asked to run Project I, a battery-powered vehicle skunkworks started in 2008. It yielded the all-electric i3 compact and the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car. The former was panned by design critics, and production was very limited on the latter.
Kranz left BMW in 2016 and soon became chief technology officer at Faraday Future, an electric vehicle startup based in Los Angeles. He stayed only three months, before co-founding Canoo. Both firms have struggled with their technology and ability to produce vehicles, while Canoo reportedly discussed selling itself to Apple and other companies. For more on this, read the full Bloomberg report on Yahoo! Finance.
The news comes one day after a Reuters report that Apple was in early-stage talks with two Chinese electric car battery suppliers.
For those unfamiliar with Apple's Project Titan, you can always learn more about some of the underlying technology behind Apple's vision of an electric vehicle by reviewing over 100 Apple patent reports that we've covered over the past few years.