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Apple Reportedly Working With Chinese Manufacturer of Electric Vehicle Batteries

Apple is quietly working with Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited on automotive battery research and development, according to Shanghai-based Yicai Global.


The report, citing unnamed sources, claims the two companies have signed a confidentiality agreement to work together on a "scheme" related to the field of batteries, but no specific details were provided.

CATL was founded in 2011 as a spinoff of Amperex Technology Limited, a large supplier of batteries for iPhones and other Apple products.

The company, based in Ningde, China, describes itself as a leader in lithium-ion battery research and development, including battery cells, materials, and recycling. CATL says it currently has more than 3,700 full-time R&D personnel from a number of well-known universities and laboratories around the world.

CATL claims it has been the world's third largest manufacturer of hybrid and electric vehicle batteries for the past two consecutive years, behind Chinese rival BYD and Panasonic, which supplies Tesla with batteries. The company's lithium-ion batteries are used in both passenger vehicles and buses.

The purpose of Apple's involvement with CATL remains unknown, as the iPhone maker reportedly abandoned plans for its own electric vehicle, at least temporarily, last year. Apple has instead emphasized its interest in autonomous technologies.

"We're focusing on autonomous systems," said Tim Cook, Apple CEO, in an interview with Bloomberg Television's Emily Chang last month. "It's a core technology that we view as very important."

In recent months, Apple has pivoted to an autonomous driving software platform being developed under the leadership of Bob Mansfield. Apple has been testing its self-driving software using a fleet of Lexus SUVs, which have been spotted on streets in California after Apple received a permit from the DMV.

CATL plans to increase its battery output to 50 gigawatt hours by 2020, which could make it one of the industry's two largest manufacturers. The other, Tesla, expects total output from its Gigafactory in Nevada to reach at least 35 gigawatt hours, with the potential for up to 150 gigawatt hours, by 2020.

The company's other goals by 2020 include significantly reducing battery costs, improving energy density, and increasing the speed of charging. Last year, it demonstrated a 4C fast-charging solution that takes only 15 minutes to charge a lithium-ion electric vehicle battery to the 90 percent level.

Related Roundup: Apple Car


Top Rated Comments

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18 months ago
I don't know man, Chinese are going to steal all of the designs. They always do in every business
Rating: 9 Votes
18 months ago

They should work with Tesla, they're good at making batteries.


It's not just batteries, Tesla is also good at making cars too. I have been impressed with the technology and build they have put into these electric cars. Musk is doing a great job with Tesla.
Rating: 8 Votes
18 months ago
Apple is now just a front for Made in China.

I'll stick with American made Tesla EVs and Japanese batteries which are best.
Rating: 6 Votes
18 months ago
I don't want to drive around in a transparent car - complete lack of privacy.
Rating: 5 Votes
18 months ago
They should work with Tesla, they're good at making batteries.
Rating: 4 Votes
18 months ago
Apple is doing a wonderful job helping China become a technological powerhouse.
Rating: 4 Votes
18 months ago
Tesla are the masters at battery technology. I have to admit I'm really uncomfortable with Apple, a company I admire, not working with Tesla. Tesla are an American success story, they don't need Chinese companies to reinvent badly, what Tesla does really well.
Rating: 3 Votes
18 months ago

It's not just batteries, Tesla is also good at making cars too. I have been impressed with the technology and build they have put into these electric cars. Musk is doing a great job with Tesla.

A great job?
https://www.forbes.com/sites/howardhyu/2017/02/24/why-investors-love-elon-musk-even-though-tesla-is-losing-money/#6c80d647240e
Once those government subsidies run out lets see how well he does
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hy-musk-subsidies-20150531-story.html
Rating: 3 Votes
18 months ago

You guys need to update your information. Last year China filed more patents than the US. Granted, volume does not necessarily indicate quality, but the old "Chinese are just good at copying" line is outdated.

And China is also now starting to aggressively enforce patent violation. It naturally happens when you have your own IP to protect.

But you are right, China is going to be the real Super Power in tech.


I am sorry, but China is still making products similar to American products. Even their military aircraft look similar to the US. "Chinese are just good at copying" line is not outdated.
Rating: 3 Votes
18 months ago

You say that like Apple isn't. Tesla is obviously way ahead of everyone else in batteries, but I think Apple is #2.

Apple doesn't make batteries:
"Apple has reportedly changed its battery suppliers for the iPad and MacBook lines to Amperex Technology Limited and Tianjin Lishen Battery, both Chinese firms, after Samsung SDI (Samsung's battery-producing subsidiary) stopped supplying Apple, the China Business News reports."
Rating: 3 Votes

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