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The head of Apple's secret project to build an electric car has left and the project is in crisis, it has been claimed.
Steve Zadesky, who previously worked as an engineer at Ford, is reportedly leaving Apple after 16 years due to personal reasons not related to his performance, the Wall Street Journal claims.
It comes amid claims the project has been hit with a hiring freeze following a review by Apple's Jony Ive.
According to Apple Insider, Ive is said to have 'expressed his displeasure' with the group's headway.
Apple is believed to have more than 1,000 people working on Project Titan at sites both inside and outside of Cupertino.
However, it has never publicially acknowledged the project's existence.
Tesla boss Elon Musk's claims that Apple's plan for an electric car is an 'open secret,' and is an obvious step for the company to make.
He told the BBC it was 'obvious' that the company would try to make a compelling car of its own.
'It's pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it,' he said.
It follows sightings of mysterious camera-mounted cars registered to Apple in the US last year.
The vehicle can pull up Apple Maps, Safari, and Siri, which are indicated all on the interactive dashboard.
The concept car can even connect to the Apple Watch.
Rumours have swirled for months around Apple's possible plans for an electric car.
The Wall Street Journal added that hundreds of employees are working on the Titan project and boss Tim Cook approved the project close to a year ago.
Some sources have claimed that the project has a set 'ship date,' of 2019, but WSJ writes that this date could be a target for the engineers to finalize a design.
While a self-driving car may be a part of the company's long-term plan, its first vehicle will not be autonomous.
Apple has never officially confirmed the claims surrounding it's the plans for Project Titan, but there have been strong indications that the company is looking into automotive technology.
In recent months, Apple has hired a number of engineers with backgrounds in automotive and battery design.
This includes a recent move, in which Apple hired a senior engineer from Elon Musk's electric car maker Tesla, according to a LinkedIn posting.
A LinkedIn profile for Jamie Carlson shows that he has left Tesla and moved to Apple.
At least six others with experience developing self-driving technology and systems have joined Apple, according to their LinkedIn profiles.
Apple representatives also met in May with officials at an automotive testing facility located east of San Francisco.
Site officials later confirmed to the Associated Press that Apple requested information about using their facility.