Apple Lease a Pepsi Factory as Icar Rumours Circulate
This week is all about Apple girding for its battle with the FBI over an order to break into a killer’s iPhone, with more amicus briefs in support of the Cupertino, Calif., company expected to be filed Thursday.
But a persistent rumor has resurfaced just in time to train the spotlight back on the tech company’s products.
According to a report in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Apple has leased a 96,000-square-foot industrial facility in nearby Sunnyvale, about a 10-minute drive from its current headquarters. (Apple is in the process of building a new campus in the area shaped like a circle, which is being overseen by design chief Jony Ive.)
Nothing more is known about Apple’s intentions for the plant, although the report immediately stirred unsubstantiated online media speculation that the lease was earmarked for Apple’s Project Titan, the oft-reported name for its car skunkworks. The Journal’s report was based on loan documents filed at the Santa Clara County courthouse.
That the large factory space used to house a Pepsi bottling plant has an ironic ring, given that Steve Jobs famously hired Apple CEO John Sculley away from Pepsi with the alleged taunt, “Do you want to sell sugar water, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”
Back in 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook told interviewer Charlie Rose that “there are products that we’re working on that no one knows about, that haven’t been rumored about yet.” But he has since remained mum on the possibility of an Apple car.
Automotive transportation is expected to undergo a holistic change in the coming years, anchored to both powertrain breakthroughs (with electricity and possibly hydrogen eventually supplanting gas-powered engines) and shifting consumer habits. (Millennials already are showing a preference for sharing over ownership.)
Google has been openly testing autonomous cars on public roads for years, while many automakers are adding driver-assist features that inch closer to autonomy with each product cycle.
A new entrant in the sweepstakes is Faraday Future, a Los Angeles-based company backed by a Chinese billionaire. Faraday introduced itself to the media at January’sConsumer Electronics Show, unveiling a rakish supercar that isn’t likely to be what the company will produce at a $1 billion facility it is constructing in Nevada.