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Apple hires Ford executive for electric car project

The US phone giant is supposedly developing an autonomous electric car, and a Ford veteran is now linked to the project.

Apple has snagged a high-profile executive from Ford Motor Co. and is likely to work on its much talked about electric car project, according to a new report released by Automotive News.

The article mentions sources that have “knowledge of the matter” and says that the tech company finalised an agreement with engineer Desi Ujkashevic earlier in the year.

Ms Ujkashevic has worked at the global automotive brand Ford since 1991, and according to her LinkedIn profile, is currently serving as the company’s Director of Engineering for North America. Before this, she helped oversee the engineering of interiors, exteriors, chassis and electrical components for many Ford models.

The executive has worked on Ford’s Escape, Explorer, Fiesta and Focus Models. Ms Ujkashevic has experience in dealing with regulatory issues, which is a crucial part of Apple being able to get a vehicle on the road.

Ms Ujkashevic is now one of few senior managers on Apple’s car team to have come from the automotive industry. Last year Ulrich Kranz, a former BMW executive became involved with Apple’s electric car as well as Stuart Bowers, a former Tesla executive who worked on self-driving software, and Jonathan Sive, an ex-manager at Tesla, Waymo and BMW.

Industry insiders have implied that the American tech giant has been working on an electric car since at least 2015, and roughly 5,000 employees, which include many from the car industry, have been recruited to work on the project.

It was reported earlier this year that Apple could be aiming for complete autonomy for its supposed car and that the final product could exclude pedals and a steering wheel.

Korean car manufacturer Hyundai was once linked to Apple’s electric car development; however, many US media outlets allege that the partnership collapsed last year.

There were reports that the launch date was planned for 2025, however, reports from Reuters last year suggested that the timeline was ambitious, though nothing has been confirmed.

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