Apple Targets 2019 Shipping Date for Electric Car
The project has been code-named Titan and its leaders have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
For Apple, a "ship date" doesn't necessarily mean the date that customers receive a new product; it can also mean the date that engineers sign off on the product's main features, the Journal said.
Apple spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including meeting with two groups of government officials in California, according to the Journal.
Sources told Reuters in August that Apple was developing a car and studying self-driving technology, but it was unclear if the iPhone-maker was designing a vehicle that could drive itself.
Apple wasn't immediately available for comment.
The Cupertino, California-based company doesn't currently plan to make its first electric vehicle fully autonomous, the Journal said.
Apple has been consistently hiring car experts as part of its effort to build a team in automated driving.
Apple has hired this year Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen engineer with expertise in automated driving, and Vinay Palakkode, a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, a hub of automated driving research.
Apple also hired a senior engineer from electric carmaker Tesla Motors (TSLA), according to a LinkedIn posting.
Apple's shares were up 1.3 percent at $114.98 on the Nasdaq.