Apple is reportedly shopping for “large expanses of real estate” in the San Francisco Bay Area to expand its much-rumored car project, codenamed “Project Titan.” The Wall Street Journal reports Apple is only one of a number of companies looking for more space for automotive-related projects, with Google parent Alphabet and several auto manufacturers, including Mercedes and Tesla also on the lookout for more space.
Victor Coleman, chief executive of Hudson Pacific Properties Inc., told analysts that “we are seeing a definitive movement” from autonomous-car research-and-development facilities, which “seem to be a hot demand item.”
“We’re seeing the Toyotas of the world, the Teslas of the world, BMWs, Mercedes. Ford now is out in the marketplace looking for space,” he said on the landlord’s quarterly investor call. “I haven’t even mentioned the 400,000 square feet that Google’s looking to take down and the 800,000 square feet that Apple’s looking to take down for their autonomous cars as well.”
While the property sizes Coleman mentions are large, traditional automobile manufacturing plants can take up much larger expanses of land. Ford’s Flat Rock, Michigan plant is 2.9 million square feet, and that’s one of the company’s smaller plants.
When contacted by WSJ, Apple declined to comment, and Alphabet representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Apple has been leasing more space in the area in recent months, reportedly to expand it car project. Apple has leased a former Pepsi bottling plant in Sunnyvale, California, as well as quietly purchasing and leasing several smaller buildings, also reported to be for use in its vehicle project.
Earlier today, Quartz reported that Apple had hired a former Google employee, Kurt Adelberger, to work on Project Titan. Kurt Adelberger has a background in electric vehicle charging.
While he trained as an astrophysicist at Harvey Mudd College and the California Institute of Technology, he is listed as a co-inventor on a recent Google patent application describing a power management device capable of initiating a charging sequence during off-peak hours to save users money.