Apple hires former CEO of Canoo as electric car project ramps up

0

Ulrich Kranz, a former BMW executive and the recently departed CEO and co-founder of EV startup Canoo, has been hired by Apple, the company has confirmed to Apple. The edge. wreath will Reportedly working on the electric car of the Silicon Valley behemoth under Doug Field, the former Tesla executive who runs the day-to-day operations of the project, which is codenamed “Project Titan”. The news that Kranz will join Apple was first reported by Bloomberg.

Kranz was one of the executives who helped launch BMW’s all-electric i3 hatchback and i8 hybrid sports car. Shortly after leaving the German automaker in late 2016, he and fellow BMW chief executive Stefan Krause were tapped to help turn the struggling EV startup Faraday Future. However, the pair clashed with the founder of Faraday Future and in late 2017 they left, forming what eventually became Canoo.

Kranz, Krause and a handful of other expats from BMW and other old carmakers came up with an all-electric van they wanted to sell on a subscription only basis, which they unveiled in 2019. The van was designed around a compact, modular platform that housed the vehicle’s battery pack, electric motors, and basically all the electronics that Canoo hoped to sell or license to other manufacturers.

Canoo’s EV platform pitch was attractive enough that Apple held talks with the startup in early 2020, such as The edge reported exclusively earlier this year. Talks between the two companies eventually broke down, however, as Canoo preferred to make an investment, while Apple was interested in an acquisition. Canoo also had an agreement with Hyundai to build vehicles based on the platform, but the startup has since walked away from that deal.

Kranz is now near the top of a very large team within Apple working on an electric, autonomous vehicle. Apple started the project in 2014, but it has gone through multiple revisions, with the company focusing solely on developing autonomous technology at one point. But in the past year, Apple shifted back to trying to develop a vehicle and has reportedly held talks with multiple automakers and battery companies such as China’s CATL.

Kranz was just one of a number of top executives to leave Canoo in the past year. Krause, Canoo’s first CEO, left last year. Canoo’s chief financial officer and his lead attorney also left this year following the startup’s merger with a special acquisition company, or SPAC. Five of the original nine co-founders will remain with the company, while those who have left have been replaced by people close to the company’s new CEO, Tony Aquila, who took over after Canoo went public as a result of the SPAC merger.

Aquila has since turned Canoo away from the subscription model idea and instead focused on creating commercial electric vehicles for small businesses. Aquila talked about the changes he made to the company during Canoo’s first meeting with investors as a publicly traded company in March. Krause was not on that call, despite still being CEO at the time. As The edge First reported late last year, Kranz’s contract with Canoo was renegotiated as part of the SPAC merger.