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Apple Electric Car Steers Closer to Reality

Apple's long-rumored electric car could be one step closer to hitting the road. The Cupertino, California, tech giant has hired Doug Betts, former global quality leader at Fiat Chrysler and one of many automotive veterans that Apple has taken under its wing over the past year.

While Apple made no major announcement about the hire, The Wall Street Journal reports that Betts' LinkedIn profile has been updated to reflect his new gig at Apple. His job title is simply listed as "Operations," but, as the WSJ points out, Betts is one of the first major Apple hires to come from a manufacturing background.

Given Betts' expertise, Apple seems that much closer to getting its cars on the street. The company's car initiative is currently code-named Titan, with reportedly hundreds of employees — including ones poached from companies such as Tesla — working on the vehicles. An AppleInsider report from earlier this year gives weight to the possibility of manufacturing being underway, as the publication purportedly discovered a secret automotive development area in Cupertino.

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Betts is one of several big names Apple has plucked from the automotive industry. Earlier this year, the smartphone giant nabbed Johann Jungwirth, former head of research and development at Mercedes, and was even sued by car battery company A123 Systems for allegedly poaching employees.

Giving further credibility to Apple's rumored car launch is the company's push toward improving its navigation tech. Apple recently acquired high-end GPS startup Coherent Navigation, whose resources could be used to beef up both the iOS Maps app as well as any in-car system Apple may be planning for its vehicles.

According to previous rumors, Apple's electric cars could be on the road by 2020. You won't have to wait that long to use Apple tech on the road, though — the company's CarPlay dashboard, which allows you to use iOS apps in your vehicle, is slated to hit Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Volvo vehicles by the end of 2015.