It’s been known that tech giant Apple has been interested in getting into the electric vehicle market for some years now. Their vision for a self-driving ‘iCar’, known internally as Project Titan, is now reportedly getting closer to reality.
In an article published by The Korea Times, it’s been reported that Apple recently met with several Korean EV parts manufacturers, which it hopes will play a vital part in plans for a future growth engine.
Like their iPhone, iPad and Mac models, Apple is expected to outsource manufacturing of its iCar to benefit third parties, including local hopefuls.
A senior industry executive with direct involvement in negotiations told The Korea Times that Apple officials were in Korea recently for business meetings with possible 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 that Apple had advanced meetings with SK Innovation, an EV Battery maker, and LG Electronics which recently created an EV powertrain joint-venture with Magna International, called LG Magna e-Powertrain.
Apple is reportedly considering using lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) battery for its iCar, as it is less likely to overheat and is, therefore, safer than lithium-ion batteries, which is what many Korean battery manufacturers are currently making.
LFP batteries are made of lithium and iron phosphate and are cheaper to manufacture. Their cold-temperature performance is weaker compared to that of lithium-ion batteries.
Korean EV battery makers don’t manufacture LFP batteries at present while their Chinese counterparts do, including CATL and BYD, which means that Apple could potentially look to China for said part.
However, if Apple were to find a Chinese partner, the ongoing trade issues between the US and China could still benefit Korean EV battery makers with tax incentives and sales rebates set to promote stateside examples to be made locally.
SK Innovation and LG Electronics will have EV battery manufacturing plants in the close future, so it looks like all systems are a go for the iCars anticipated 2024 production start date.