German news outlet Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports Apple is operating a secret vehicle research and development lab in Berlin, Germany. The report claims the facility employs 15 – 20 “top class” individuals culled from the German automotive industry.
The team is said to be made up of young men and women with backgrounds in software, hardware, engineering, and sales. The group of “progressive thinkers” are said to spend time studying potential manufacturing partnerships, government regulations, and sales concerns relative to Germany. The report notes the new employees all have a reputation for innovation, which had been stifled by their previous “conservative” employers.
The publication indicates Apple may be planning to make use of Austrian-based automotive manufacturer Magna to build its vehicle. Magna specializes in manufacturing limited-edition models for major car companies, having built the Mini Paceman, BMW X3, and Clubman for BMW.
While Apple has never publicly admitted that it is working on an electric vehicle, the company has hired dozens of automotive experts away from companies like Ford and Mercedes-Benz, says The Financial Times.
While Apple may be making use of German resources, it still appears much of the research and development for any possible electric vehicle planned by the company is still taking place in its home state of California in the United States, where it has reportedly been purchasing and leasing a number of facilities.