By all accounts, the Apple Car is still a long ways off, but as development continues we’re hearing a lot more about what’s supposed to be coming. Like the fact Apple may build its car batteries in the U.S.
That’s according to a report from DigiTimes, which claims Apple is “mulling manufacturers for Apple Car in the U.S.”, according to industry sources.
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This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this sort of rumor. Last month Reuters reported that Apple was in discussions with Chinese battery makers CATL and BYD, the former of which supplies batteries to the likes of Tesla and BMW.
However, despite its willingness to work with Chinese firms, it was reported that Apple was insisting that the Apple Car batteries be built in the United States. CATL was reportedly hesitant to agree to this condition, citing political tensions between the U.S. and Chinese governments as to why.
DigiTimes’ report gave some context to this condition, and why Apple seems to insistent on U.S.-made batteries. According to sources, semiconductors and lithium batteries are now considered “strategic materials” by the U.S. government.
Having such a key component of electric cars built in China, especially given the recent trade war, means Apple may not want to risk politics disrupting its battery production. As for the rest of the Apple Car’s components? Given Apple’s diverse, global supply chain for the iPhone and other products, it would stand to reason that the company would take a similar approach with the Apple Car.
According to DigiTimes, the Taiwan-based companies Foxconn and Advanced Lithium Electrochemistry (Aleees) have a chance of developing Apple Car batteries. Both companies have plans to set up a manufacturing base in the U.S., while Foxconn already has a well-established relationship with Apple thanks its involvement in iPhone assembly.
Apple Car: When is it coming?
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the Apple Car, something that isn’t helped by Apple’s standard veil of secrecy that surrounds all its products. We know the car is set to be electric, and rumor is that it may well be a completely autonomous vehicle that doesn’t need a human driver.
But Apple has faced several setbacks in recent months. Reports claimed that the company was struggling to find a manufacturing partner, since existing automakers were concerned about the level of control the company might have. Evidently they didn’t want to wind up “the Foxconn of the auto industry” by ceding all Apple Car production decisions to Apple.
But now it’s suggested that LG and Canadian auto-parts maker Magna were in discussions with Apple to make its car ambitions a reality. We haven’t heard anything about this since, and have no idea whether those negotiations were successful or not.
It’s not clear when the Apple Car might arrive, though rumors have suggested a 2024 launch is possible. Considering Apple seems to want its batteries manufactured in the U.S that may be optimistic. Especially if it involves companies having to build new factories from scratch.
We’re just going to have to wait and see what happens. But it’s clear that the Apple Car’s long road to reality is far from over.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.