A mechanical engineer who was in charge of leading the Project Titan at Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), which seeks to develop an electric car, left the company for personal reasons, according to a report made by the Wall Street Journal. Last year in December, the tech giant registered apple.car domain after it had hired several car engineers.

Sources familiar with the Project Titan said to the Wall Street Journal that Steve Zadesky, had led the team in charge of the development of the Apple Car in the last two years. It was explained that Zadesky has abandoned his charge for personal reasons.

Image of what the Apple Car would look like, extracted from a video from Apple Leaks. Credit: Youtube

According to his Linkedin profile, Steve Zadesky had almost 17 years working at Apple. Three years after he graduated from Stanford University he worked at Ford Motor and later joined Apple. Since then, he has worked with the teams in charge of the iPod, iPhone and Apple accessories.

Analysts have explained that since Apple became the most valuable company in the world, by making consumer electronic products such as the iPhone, which represents about two-thirds of Apple’s revenues, it would make sense for the company to develop an electric car. Companies like Google, Tesla, Toyota and Ford are already investing in the segment of autonomous electric cars, which appear to have a promising future.

Rumors suggest that Apple set 2019 as a deadline for the development of the Project Titan, however, customers would have to wait a few more years until they can see an Apple car on the American roads, because the project needs to be approved first by executives and investors.

Steve Zadesky was assigned to increase the size of the team in charge of the Project Titan, that had 600 employees by September 2015. It seems that Apple has determined plans to develop an electric vehicle, even when analysts and engineers have said to the company that goal appear to be difficult.

“It would seem like there will be massive change in that industry, massive change. You may not agree with that. That’s what I think. When I look at the automobile, what I see is that software becomes an increasingly important part of the car of the future. You see that autonomous driving becomes much more important,” said Tim Cook about to the future of cars, in a Wall Street Journal conference.

Last year, Apple registered apple.car and apple.auto internet domains, according to Mac Rumors. Months before, the company had hired engineers and car experts from brands such as Ford, General Motors, Samsung, Nvidia and Tesla. Also, Electric Motorcycle, a startup dedicated to develop electric vehicles, had to shut down after Apple hired all of its engineers.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, said in a interview relating to the rumors of the Apple car, that designing and building cars was a very difficult task that could not be compared to the development of smartphones or smartwatches, since they cannot be built in massive plants in china such as Foxconn, the main Apple supplier.

“They have hired people we’ve fired. We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard’. If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding. For Apple, the car is the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation. A new pencil or a bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough,” Elon Musk said to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, last year.

Source: Wall Street Journal