Apple Appoints Bob Mansfield to Oversee Electric Vehicle Team

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Apple has appointed former longtime executive Bob Mansfield, who last served as Senior Vice President of Technologies at the company, to oversee development of its widely rumored electric vehicle, according to The Wall Street Journal. All senior managers on the project now report to him.

Apple announced that Mansfield was retiring in June 2012, but a few months later said he would remain with the company as an advisor. He last worked on Apple's "Special Projects" team, reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook, and has made regular appearances on campus despite stepping down from day-to-day work four years ago.
Until recently, Mr. Mansfield--who, along with design chief Jony Ive, was one of the few executives to appear in Apple's carefully-crafted product announcement videos--had all but retreated from the company aside from the occasional visit, these people said. Earlier this month, employees at Apple noticed in the company directory that all the senior managers on the car project were now reporting to Mr. Mansfield, they said.
Apple has reportedly recruited hundreds of engineers from the likes of Tesla, Ford, GM, and elsewhere to work on the so-called Apple Car, codenamed "Project Titan" internally. The electric vehicle could be street-ready between 2019 and 2021 according to various reports, with R&D based in Sunnyvale, California. Many question marks remain about the extent of the vehicle's design, autonomous capabilities, and other features.

Mansfield joined Apple in 1999 and has been instrumental in the company's recent success, overseeing the development of past MacBook Air, iPhone, and iPad designs. Under the Special Projects team, he also played a role behind the Apple Watch. His decision to remain at Apple in 2012 was influenced by both a generous compensation package and former iOS chief Scott Forstall's departure.
Mansfield is highly-regarded and many at Apple believe that if anyone can help bring the car to market, it's him. https://t.co/PMNQqmhsPY - Daisuke Wakabayashi (@daiwaka) July 25, 2016
Project Titan as a whole was previously under Dan Riccio, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, according to Rene Ritchie. Steve Zadesky, who held a senior role at Apple related to the electric vehicle project since 2014, left the company earlier this year for personal reasons. Zadesky reported to Riccio until his departure, as the leader of one of multiple teams working on the electric vehicle.

Article Link: Apple Appoints Bob Mansfield to Oversee Electric Vehicle Team
 
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NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
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Wait...you personally know him? Or you talking about you like how he presents Apple's new silicon in their older marketing videos?
My guess would be how he presents in interviews and the keynote. He's like Hair Force One in terms of his personality.
 
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Karma*Police

macrumors 68000
Jul 15, 2012
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Bob was pretty instrumental in identifying key tech trends and well respected from what I understand.

I'm excited to see what Apple can bring to the table. MB, BMW, Tesla... they all fall short in the ergonomics/UI dept as far as I'm concerned and that's where Apple usually shines.
 

deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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to oversee development of its widely rumored electric vehicle, according to​
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Steve Zadesky, who reportedly previously led Apple's electric vehicle team, left the company earlier this year. ..
Indicative that this was turning into a black hole money pit. Apple making a car is a flawed idea. Apple has billions to burn so it won't necessarily kill the company but not sure how going to be in car business and actually don't make cars. There is a significant difference in constructing prototype , cruise around Sunnyvale/Mtn View cars under mostly ideal conditions and doing real car that can deal with real roads.

HR development wise also not particularly good have to dip into the retirement pool to get a top flight engineering manager to run something. Starved out Mac product (and non iOS) R&D probably isn't helping on that front.
 

invisiblegt

macrumors member
Mar 21, 2013
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To me, the actual prospect of an electric vehicle from Apple is the least interesting thing about this project. Where it really shines is the potential for advancement in regards to all the technology and infrastructure surrounding the vehicle. Batteries. Chargers. Networks. Autonomy. Even if the vehicle itself is an abject failure in the first generation, what stems from it might be pivotal in the creation or betterment of other industries.

Plus, Apple, having a relatively strong foothold where the government is concerned, stands to further push legislation that would help to lead us into a more "futuristic" age. It's a slippery slope to be sure, but...
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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They should buy Tesla and Elon Musk.
Tesla ( + Solar City) is an even deeper money pit at this point. Sure sigh Apple is committed to just burning money if they made that move. Doubtful Musk would stick around after dumping giants piles of money into his pocket ... he'd be off to next project he wanted to work on. Apple would be saddled with businesses that don't get huge tax subsidies to drive growth.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
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Oh thank god, now bring Scott back!!
Except Scott was one of the reasons Bob retired. He un-retired when Scott was let go.

This is good. It's not like the current executive team is twiddling their thumbs looking for something to do. But it does make me wonder what the heck Dan Ricco does. You never hear of him leading or being involved in projects. He doesn't have the watch or the car, someone else runs the silicon team, the last few product intros came from Ive. And it's not like he's pushing out Mac updates. What does he do?
 

macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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I love Bob! Seems like a heck of a guy. People like him and Craig Federighi are what make Apple great. In the other thread about stock price I neglected to mention their electric car project, which has kind of gone quiet lately. This is something that could definitely bring them long-term success and help them hit that higher price-target down the road. I'm glad that they seem to be taking their time with it. I'm looking forward to future competition between them and Tesla. Unlike Google, I have nothing against Tesla, and look forward to a fair competition between two companies that seem hell-bent on leaving the planet a better place than they found it. This kind of competition is only good news for the human race. I hope Apple joins Elon Musk in his vision to reinvest a lot of the cash from selling products into developing new technologies that will help reduce our carbon footprint and make the earth a cleaner place to live. This sort of corporate philosophy is crucial to our long-term survival as a species.
 
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doelcm82

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Feb 11, 2012
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Indicative that this was turning into a black hole money pit. Apple making a car is a flawed idea. Apple has billions to burn so it won't necessarily kill the company but not sure how going to be in car business and actually don't make cars. There is a significant difference in constructing prototype , cruise around Sunnyvale/Mtn View cars under mostly ideal conditions and doing real car that can deal with real roads.

HR development wise also not particularly good have to dip into the retirement pool to get a top flight engineering manager to run something. Starved out Mac product (and non iOS) R&D probably isn't helping on that front.
Based on what we know for sure about Apple's car project, this appointment is more suggestive than indicative of anything. And what it suggests is highly colored by whatever personal opinion you already hold about whether Apple should be making a car.

We don't know the details of Apple's relationship with Mansfield. Speculation about why he was chosen over other candidates is just that--speculation.

Of course there is a difference in prototypes versus delivered cars. That's why Tesla will never bring a car to market. It's totally impossible. Can't be done. Case Closed.
 
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Gorms

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2012
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If this isn't what he was working on before in secret, then this is what that team needs. Mansfield is one of those Apple guys that seems to have a great rep, it'll be nice to see the MR forum not turning into an anger-fest for once at this news.
 

derbladerunner

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2005
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They should buy Tesla and Elon Musk.
Why now?

Tesla plus Solarcity could be bankrupt by the time Apple launches its car project, maybe even before that.

Elon Musk is burning cash left and right and keeps talking about new projects (a truck, a bus, solar panels and home batteries and what not):



http://www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-results-burning-rubber-and-cash-1446592224

If Tesla plus Solarcity keep burning cash this way Apple can pick up the pieces (if it's interested at all) for pennies on the dollar in a few years.
 
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