Apple is reportedly fast-tracking its electric car project for 2019

With Tesla's Model III in sight, Apple seems intent on breaking into the market ASAP

Reports about Apple's intentions to build its own electric car have built in frequency since February - and the latest one suggests that the company is pouring vast resources into making it happen as quickly as possible.

According to The Wall Street Journal, sources say that Apple has marked Project Titan a "committed project" and has directed leaders to triple its team size from the current count of about 600 people. The goal? Have the electric car ready to ship in 2019. However, the report says that "shipping" in this case doesn't necessarily mean that it'll hit consumers at that time.

Internally, when Apple marks something as being ready to ship, that can simply mean that its primary features have been finalized before the last details come together. And due to the ample regulations placed on cars, getting a vehicle from prototype into a state where it can be sold to consumers is sure to be a laborious, long-winded process. Still, 2019 is a year sooner than we've heard before, and still a very ambitious target for creating a car.

Here's another interesting detail: the report claims that Apple's first car won't be autonomous, with the company opting to create a drivable electric car out of the gate. However, the company intends to enter the self-driving vehicle space further down the line. Last month, uncovered emails suggested that Apple was eager to test a self-driving car - but this report says that's a longer-term aim.

Many details remain unclear, including who will actually build the cars for Apple. Why Apple would throw a ton of resources at speeding up this project makes a lot of sense, however: following Tesla's lead, electric cars are gaining momentum amongst consumers. And Tesla might break the market wide open with the cheaper Model III, due in 2017, which could sell for just US$35,000.

Apple's first electric car may not arrive until a couple (or maybe few) years after that, but the company is known not always for making something first, but often making it best. We'll see if that strategy applies to this very new and different market, however.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]