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Report: Apple Cars Could Be Here as Soon as 2020 The electric vehicle space is heating up.

By Laura Entis

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Reuters | Robert Galbraith

iPod, iPhone, iPad…iCar? This week, speculation that Apple is secretly working on producing an electric car gained momentum when news broke that the electric-car battery maker A123 Systems has sued the Cupertino, Calif.-based company for poaching some of its top engineers.

In fact, we may see Apple electric cars as early as 2020, Bloomberg reports, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

If Apple is indeed pushing its newly assembled team to produce an electronic vehicle in the next five years, an ambitious time frame, it signals that the company is preparing to square off against Tesla Motors and General Motors. (Both automakers are slated to release an affordable electric vehicle in 2017.) It also pits Apple against Google, which released a fully functional prototype of its driverless car in December and aims to test it on roads in Northern California this year.

Of course, Apple's car ambitions – which haven't been officially confirmed – are still in the early stages of development. As Bloomberg notes, the company could still decide to abandon the project altogether down the line.

But for now, it appears as if things are heating up in the electronic vehicle space. Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek that Apple is trying to lure his employees away by offering them $250,000 signing bonuses and a 60 percent salary increase.

Related: Apple Sued Over Alleged Employee Poaching

Laura Entis is a reporter for Fortune.com's Venture section.

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