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Apple's automotive ambitions go beyond its iPhone integration technology, which is called CarPlay (Photo: Apple) 

Apple is planning to launch an electric car in 2019, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The US business newspaper says the consumer electronics group will triple its 600-person automotive team to meet the deadline.

Apple has been in talks with several major automakers to see whether it could build the car with a partner, but, apparently, no agreements have been reached to date.

The WSJ report points out that the 2019 target date doesn't mean customers can start ordering Apple cars that year. The newspaper says 2019 may just be the year engineers finalize the technical details of a product that will come to market later.

The newspaper also said Apple has taken various steps to make sure it will be able to test future automotive products, both on a test track and, possibly, on public roads.

An Apple car is likely to feature a large number of advanced driver assistance features, including the ability to drive autonomously under certain conditions.