(Reuters) – Apple Inc is pushing to launch its electric car as early as 2025 and refocusing the project around full self-driving capabilities, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The iPhone maker’s shares rose nearly 3% to hit a new record following the report.
Apple’s ideal car would have no steering wheel and pedals, with interiors designed around hands-off driving, the report said.
The company’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design a vehicle from scratch.
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Demand for electric vehicles has surged as countries and customers turn more environment conscious, propelling the market value of companies such as Tesla and Rivian far above traditional carmakers around for decades longer.
“It’s a matter of when, not if,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said, adding that chances of Apple unveiling its own standalone car by 2025 as 60% to 65%.
The Bloomberg report said some people working on the project were skeptical about the timeline even with recent progress, which includes the car’s underlying self-driving system, processor chips, and advanced sensors.
Apple declined to comment on the report.
Reuters had reported in December that Apple was targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology.
Meanwhile, The Information, citing a memo, reported that Apple was preparing to bring back employees to offices starting Feb. 1 and will let staff work for up to four weeks remotely each year.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath, Anil D’Silva and Sriraj Kalluvila)