Apple’s electric car to arrive a lot sooner than you think?

The Apple car – can we call it an iCar, yet? – has popped up in another rumour, and this time it’s one that actually puts an alleged timeframe on the fruity vehicle’s emergence.

Bloomberg has spoken to multiple sources on this topic, and they claim that Apple is pushing to release an electric car potentially as soon as five years’ time.

It still seems a far-fetched idea to us – and of course, remember these are just plans – but Cupertino certainly has the cash pile to allow them to experiment. However, if you thought that Apple producing a full-on HDTV was a fiscal risk, as we did when that was the big rumour a while back, then a vehicle puts that risk on a whole other scale.

Mind you, it also puts potential profits on a whole other scale, too – particularly given the premium Apple always manages to get away with charging.

The Bloomberg report notes that the tipping point in the electric car market will likely be 2017, when Tesla and General Motors are both aiming to get a mainstream model out which can last over 200 miles on one charge, and costs less than $40,000 (£26,000). Apple won’t want to be too far behind to the party, by all accounts, with its 2020 target date.

Steve LeVine, author of a book on the auto industry, told Bloomberg: “That’s the inflection point – the proving ground – that brings on the electric age. Now you have Apple coming in and this is critical mass. Was GM really going to be able to match Tesla? Apple can.”

Apple has already poached staff from Tesla, and also reportedly Mercedes-Benz, along with car battery manufacturer A123 Systems. The latter has just launched a lawsuit against Cupertino for snagging five of their top engineers, with Apple apparently developing a “large-scale battery division” right now.