Reports out of Germany are claiming Apple is hosting a super-secret research and development lab in Berlin, employing between fifteen and twenty individuals from the automotive industry, fueling rumors that Apple will be unveiling its first car in the near future.

Despite rumors of an Apple vehicle persisting for the last couple of years, the article published today provides some particularly intriguing details. For a start, those employed at the lab come from various backgrounds including engineering, software, hardware and sales. The article also describes them as “progressive thinkers” in those fields and were persuaded to work for Apple because of these kinds of ideas having previously been ignored by their earlier employers.

We’ve talked about the Apple Car before and what it is likely to bring, besides a likely disruption to the industry, and the report covers some of the same thoughts. For a start, it’s expected that the car will be electric, while rumors that it will be driverless are unlikely to be substantiated due to ongoing development of the technology.

Otherwise, the article addresses Apple’s lack of distribution network in an industry it’s not previously participated in. It’s believed that Apple is looking at vehicle-sharing models akin to BMW’s Drive-Now instead.

It’s long-believed that Apple has hundreds of employees working on a car at its Sunnyvale campus in California, while we’ve also heard the ‘Project Titan’ codename applied to a possible Apple vehicle, but this latest development suggesting Apple has branched outside of the US to continue its pursuit of producing an automobile hints that the iPhone-maker might be further along in its journey than many expected.