Gadgets

This is the guy who’ll be building the Apple Car

Apple may have just hired the biggest piece of the puzzle that is its electric car project.

Wall Street Journal first spotted the significant update of Doug Betts' LinkedIn profile page, noting that the former global head of operations at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles now lists "Operations - Apple Inc." as his main employer.  

This adds to speculation that Apple is hard at work building its own electric car - a rumour that reached new heights after Apple hoovered up employees and facilities at a battery-building facility in Cupertino. 

In addition to Betts and the battery builders, Apple has also taken on the skills of Paul Furgale, a respected autonomous vehicle researcher in Switzerland, to help navigate the tricky problem of "how devices stay localised in 3D spaces" - essentially, navigating complicated physical spaces without relying solely on a GPS system.

With Betts previous employers including Michelin, Toyota, Nissan and Chrysler, we've delved through some of the motoring models that auto-guru has overseen to speculate (wildly) on what he might bring to the Apple Car.

(Images: Wiki Commons)

  • This is the guy who'll be building the Apple Car

    Toyota Tundra

    Betts was head of product quality and supply chain for Toyota's Tundra pickup between 1997 and 2004. While it's highly unlikely Apple would launch with a commercial/recreational model, Betts knows his way around larger vehicles.

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    Toyota Sequoia

    Another bulky ride Betts oversaw while at Toyota, 

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    Toyota Sienna

    This is more like it. Early word on Apple's car project, codenamed "Titan", mentioned that the concept looked like a mini-van - a model Brett knows well from his days looking after the hugely successful Toyota Sienna. We'd expect the first Apple Car to shift with plenty of space (it helps increase floor room for storing batteries). 

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    Nissan Armada

    Another SUV that Betty has intimate knowledge with is the Nissan Armada - a vehicle made in the US while he was head of "Total Customer Satisfaction".

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    Nissan Titan

    Starting to notice a pattern? Another US-sized vehicle that Betts looked after was Nissan's Titan - a hunk of a truck that's far more popular throughout the Americas than Europe. 

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    Nissan Maxima

    A US-only Nissan model, Betts also has knowledge of how to make a more "practical" saloon car.

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    Jeep Grand Cherokee

    From 2007 to 2014, Betts brought his knowledge of product and service quality to the Chrysler group, "implementing Toyota operating principles". It apparently worked. Sales of Chrysler's light-trucks, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, made massive gains, along with the sportier Dodge models. If you want to build a big, practical, family car for the US market, Betts is a safe bet.