It’s no secret that tech giant Apple has been looking to get into the electric vehicle (EV) game for years now, but its vision for a self-driving ‘iCar’ – known internally as Project Titan – is now reportedly closer to coming together.
According to The Korea Times, Apple recently met with several Korean EV parts manufacturers, which it hopes will play a key role in its plans for a future growth engine.
Much like its iPhone, iPad and Mac line-ups, Apple is expected to outsource the manufacturing of the iCar to the benefit of third parties, including local hopefuls.
A senior industry executive with direct involvement in the negotiations told The Korea Times that Apple officials had been in Korea in recent times for business talks with potential partners in the semiconductor and display industries.
“Without partnerships with Korean vendors, Apple won’t be able to complete its EV business plan. As far as I know, Apple has talked with LG, SK and Hanwha, but the talks are still in the early stages,” they added.
The Korea Times speculates Apple had “advanced meetings” with SK Innovation, an EV battery maker, and LG Electronics, which recently establish an EV powertrain joint-venture with Magna International, dubbed LG Magna e-Powertrain.
Apple is said to be considering using a lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) battery for the iCar, as it is less likely to overheat and therefore safer than lithium-ion batteries, which most Korean battery makers are currently manufacturing.
Made of lithium and iron phosphate, LFP batteries are also cheaper to manufacture, although their cold-temperature performance is weaker than that of lithium-ion batteries.
That said, Korean EV battery makers don’t currently manufacture LFP batteries, while their Chinese equivalents, including CATL and BYD, do, so Apple could instead look to China instead.
But if Apple does find a Chinese partner, the deepening trade issues between the US and China could still benefit Korean EV battery makers, as sales rebates and tax incentives are set to encourage stateside examples to be manufactured locally.
And yes, SK Innovation and LG Electronics will both have EV battery manufacturing plants in the near future, so it’s game on ahead of the iCar’s targeted 2024 production start date.
Extracted in full from: Apple iCar EV gaining traction! New electric car from iPhone, iPad and Mac maker closer to reality following talks with Korean partners: report – Car News | CarsGuide