What better place to develop one of the most talked about new cars today than in a secret lab? Chatter related to the rumored Apple Car is reaching a fever pitch, and the latest rumor involves just such a facility being set up for the project.
Apple has a secret lab in Berlin where 15 to 20 people are working on the car, according to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (via Boy Genius Report). The lab’s denizens reportedly have backgrounds ranging from software and hardware engineering to sales, are on the whole “relatively young,” and are characterized by “progressive thinking,” the report says.
In addition to working on the car itself, the small team is also reportedly tasked with sorting out regulatory approval from the German government, and scoping out the competition. It was previously assumed Apple would work on its car project closer to its Cupertino, California, headquarters. Apple representatives even inquired about testing at a California site last year.
Related: Designers imagine what the rumored Apple Car might look like
The report also claims the Apple Car could be built in Europe, by Magna Steyr in Austria. Magna Steyr is a contract manufacturer that builds entire cars for other companies, including the G-Class for Mercedes-Benz. Contracting out manufacturing would make Apple’s lack of car-making experience less of an issue, and fits the company’s pattern of using contractors for other products like phones.
It was previously reported that Apple wanted to use the BMW i3 electric car as the basis for its own car, although neither company would comment on that. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who considers himself an “Apple freak,” has said his company would happily partner with Apple on car production.
Wherever it’s being worked on, most reports point to the Apple Car appearing sometime in 2019 or 2020, but no real details about the car itself have been made public. Despite the hype, Apple still won’t confirm its existence.