[Image above] Screen capture from Bloomberg Business News video coverage of the much-anticipated plans for the Apple-branded electric car. Credit: Bloomberg Business News; YouTube

Today’s ever-changing automotive world is in the fast lane—and all signs point to energy efficiency with the goal of drastically reducing emissions. Cars are becoming lighter, smarter, safer, and more efficient.

Last year, Mercedes-Benz released their vision of a concept car that harvests sunlight with its paint for added fuel efficiency and is equipped with both an electric motor and turbocharged, hydrogen-powered combustion engine.

Some automakers are setting their sights on developing fuel cell vehicles, which have been shown to refuel faster and are more similar to conventional combustion engine vehicles. Other companies are putting the pedal to the metal on developing more sophisticated electric vehicles.

Whatever the route, ‘green’ is key when it comes to automobiles of the future—and with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developing new, stringent standards to reduce emissions, more options for energy-efficient solutions for cars are non-negotiable.

After much speculation this summer about whether or not Apple was driving forward plans to join the energy-efficient race and develop an electric car, The Wall Street Journal reports that the tech giant has designated the project internally as a “committed project” with a target date to get the cars road-ready for 2019.

“The go-ahead came after the company spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including meetings with two groups of government officials in California. Leaders of the project, code-named Titan, have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the people familiar with the matter said,” WSJ reports.

Credit: Bloomberg Business; YouTube

But electric cars have had some stiff competition from gas-reliant vehicles as fuel prices continue to trend downward. reported stats in April that revealed “about 22% of people who have traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV. The number represents a sharp increase from 18.8% last year, and it is nearly double the rate of 11.9% just three years ago.”

“Three years ago, when gas was at near-record highs, it was a lot easier to rationalize the price premiums on alternative fuel vehicles. But with today’s gas prices as low as they are, the math just doesn’t make a very compelling case,” says Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds, in a news release related to the report.

Do you think Apple’s electric car will be an auto market gamechanger? Tell us what you think in the comments!