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Ex-BMW i3 lead, Canoo boss moves to Apple for car project, report says

Ulrich Kranz just recently resigned as CEO of EV startup Canoo. Apple reportedly scooped him up shortly thereafter.

Kranz is a big hire for Apple.
Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

The executive behind BMW's i3 and i8 electrified machines is now an Apple employee. According to a Bloomberg report on Thursday, Ulrich Kranz, also the former CEO of EV startup Canoo, joined the tech giant. He will work with its automotive team, long rumored to be building a physical vehicle, often referred to as the Apple Car.

Apple did not immediately return a request for comment on the reported hire and Kranz's LinkedIn page does not yet show updated information. However, the report said Kranz will report to Doug Fields, a Tesla veteran now in charge of the Apple Car program. His reported hiring is a massive score for Apple and seems to be the biggest indicator the tech giant is moving full speed ahead to produce a physical vehicle, as opposed to just car software.

Reports from earlier this year peg the Apple Car to come in 2024 at the earliest. The company has also not-so-quietly been in discussions with possible partners to help the vehicle come to life. Apple was first in contact with Hyundai and Kia to help manufacture the car, though the two confirmed discussions ended. Most recently, Apple was reportedly in talks with China's CATL and BYD -- two giant electric vehicle battery producers. According to reports, Apple wants a partner to build a US-based manufacturing site to supply batteries for its Apple Car. It may also have some sort of game-changing battery tech developed in-house it wants help building.

Until Apple's ready to spill the beans publicly, these hires and small leaks are all we know about the long-rumored Apple Car. We'll likely learn more along the way, but we probably have a few years before we get anything close to official.

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