Apple in 'Early-Stage' Talks With Chinese EV Battery Makers for Apple Car
Apple is in early-stage talks with China's CATL and BYD about the supply of batteries for its planned electric vehicle, four people with knowledge of the matter said.
The discussions are subject to change and it is not clear if agreements with either CATL or BYD will be reached, said the people who declined to be named as the discussions are private.
One of Apple's conditions for battery suppliers is said to be the building of manufacturing facilities in the United States.
However, CATL, which is the world's biggest automotive battery maker and supplies several major car makers including Tesla, is reportedly "reluctant" to build a U.S. factory because of the ongoing political tensions between Beijing and Washington, in addition to the costs that would be involved.
According to Reuters' sources, Apple is in favor of using lithium iron phosphate batteries that are cheaper to produce because they use iron instead of nickel and cobalt, which are more expensive. However, it's not clear if discussions with CATL and BYD involved any of Apple's own technology or designs.
The last few months has seen a flurry of reports, some conflicting, about potential specifics on an Apple Car.
Apple appears to be intensely researching all aspects of car engineering and manufacturing, but there are questions around what form Apple's vehicle project may take, with some reports suggesting Apple may be looking to leverage its software and chip design expertise to create a kind of next-generation vehicle platform for other manufacturers to use.
Bloomberg in January reported that Apple self-driving vehicle is still in early development and is still at least five years away, while reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the vehicle is unlikely to launch until 2025 at the earliest.
Apple has also reportedly lost "several" top managers from its internal Apple Car project, codenamed "Project Titan," causing a potential setback to the launch of a self-driving car.