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Apple pulls the plug on its electric car project



Apple is canceling its decade-long effort to build an electric car, according to people with knowledge of the matter, abandoning one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the company.

Apple made the disclosure internally Tuesday, surprising the nearly 2,000 employees working on the project, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the announcement wasn’t public. The decision was shared by Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, a vice president in charge of the effort, according to the people.

The two executives told staffers that the project will begin winding down and that many employees on the car team — known as the Special Projects Group, or SPG — will be shifted to the artificial intelligence division under executive John Giannandrea. Those employees will focus on generative AI projects, an increasingly key priority for the company.

The Apple car team also has several hundred hardware engineers and car designers. It’s possible they will be able to apply for jobs on other Apple teams. There will be layoffs, but it’s unclear how many.

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Apple, based in Cupertino, California, declined to comment.

The move came as a relief to some investors, who pared declines in the stock on Tuesday. The shares gained about 0.5% to $182.01 at 2:18 p.m. in New York after Bloomberg reported the news.

Elon Musk, head of Tesla Inc., also celebrated the move. He sent a post on X with a saluting emoji.

The decision to ultimately wind down the project is a bombshell for the company, ending a multibillion-dollar effort that would have vaulted Apple into a whole new industry. The tech giant started working on a car around 2014, setting its sights on a fully autonomous electric vehicle with a limousine-like interior and voice-guided navigation.

But the project struggled nearly from the start, with Apple changing the team’s leadership and strategy several times. Lynch and Williams took over the undertaking a few years ago — following the departure of Doug Field, now a senior executive at Ford Motor Co.

Apple’s most senior executives finalized the decision in recent weeks, according to the people. It comes just a month after Bloomberg News reported that the project reached a make-or-break point. The most recent approach discussed internally was delaying a car release until 2028 and reducing self-driving specifications from Level 4 to Level 2+ technology.

Most recently, Apple had imagined the car being priced at around $100,000. But executives were concerned about the vehicle being able to provide the profit margins that Apple typically enjoys on its products. The company’s board was also concerned about continuing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on a project that may never see the light of day.

Apple continues to invest heavily in other areas. The company spent $113 billion on total research and development over the past five years, with an average annual growth rate of about 16%. The company also recently launched the Vision Pro headset — its first new product category in almost a decade — and has built up that business.

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