New details on Apple's electric car project have emerged, suggesting the company has targeted a ship date that's just three years out, but because of the tight deadline, we shouldn't expect Apple Car to be autonomous.

Apple Car isn't the vehicle's official name but rather a colloquial one picked up by the media. The project is actually codenamed Titan at the moment, and Apple has reportedly spent more than a year investigating whether such a project is even feasible. The company must think it's worth exploring some more, because according to The Wall Street Journal, project leaders are now tripling Apple Car's 600-person team.

That information shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those of you who have been following Apple Car news, because Apple has been rumoured to be poaching experts across the automative industry all year, including from companies like Tesla, Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen. Some of those hires have also been connected to self-driving car systems, hinting the electric car might also be autonomous.

The Wall Street Journal claimed Apple is ramping up efforts to build an electric car and has even set a target ship date for 2019. This report conflicts with previous ones that claimed Apple wanted to start producing its electric vehicle by 2020. Just remember that a ship date might not mean you'll be able to buy an Apple Car in a mere three years; it could mean engineers have only signed off on the product's key features.

Apple's electric car would still need to clear regulatory hurdles and testing before you could even drive the car around the block. And if you're really expecting it to be driverless (due to all the recent rumours and speculation), you might want to lower your expectations. The Wall Street Journal has revealed the first Apple Car will not be fully autonomous, though such functionality is part of Apple's long-term plans.

However, earlier this month, Apple met with DMV officials to discuss California's autonomous vehicle regulations, so we don't think you should completely dismiss the idea of a driverless vehicle from Apple. Apart from that, it's unclear if Apple will build Apple Car from the ground up or partner with an existing automaker. It's also unclear if Apple will contract the manufacturing, like it does with iPhone and iPad.

Keep in mind that when asked by Stephen Colbert recently about whether an Apple Car was in the works, Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, would only admit: "We look at a number of things along the way, and we decide to really put our energies on a few of those."

Check out Pocket-lint's Apple Car round-up for more rumours.

Sections Apple Cars