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The potential deal between Apple and the duo of CATL and BYD will advance the former’s self-driving EV car agenda if it pulls through.
American multinational technology company Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) is reportedly in talks with the world’s biggest battery manufacturers for supplies for its proposed self-driving cars. According to an exclusive Reuters report, the Cupertino-based firm is in talks with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) and BYD Ord Shs A (SHE: 002594) for Lithium Iron phosphate batteries supply citing four people familiar with the matter.
The talks about an Apple car have long been in the air. While the company has not yet openly affirmed what it is working on with respect to its EV automobile, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook revealed the plans as it relates to its ongoing work on autonomous driving software. In his words;
“We’re focusing on autonomous systems. It’s a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of seeing it as the mother of all AI projects. It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on.”
Apple has notably been conducting series of tests for its self-driving car software according to MacRumors. According to the media outlet, the company’s SUVs have been spotted more than once on the streets of Cupertino, with mounted sensors and cameras. Apple has seen a number of executives and staff changes, significantly causing a slow-down in developments. However, now that John Giannandrea, Apple’s AI and machine Learning Chief in charge of the project, a new momentum have been ushered in since 2020.
Apple Self-Driving Cars: Potentials of the CATL and BYD Discussions
According to two of the sources who pleaded anonymity as the matter is still in private talks, Apple has a condition for CATL and BYD to open a new factory in the United States. This caveat has been noted to be aligned to CATL’s targets as it implies extra costs and unwise due to the political uncertainty between Washington and Beijing. In addition, the company is reportedly on track to establish a new manufacturing plant in Shanghai, making the idea of a new one in the US unattractive.
Both CATL, the world’s number one supplier of batteries to most electric vehicle manufacturers including Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), and BYD, the number 4 per the ranking declined to comment on the deal, perhaps in line with Apple’s secrecy code. There are indications that the discussions may involve building Apple’s batteries based on the company’s own design and technology.
Pending further details as time unravel, the potential deal between Apple and the duo of CATL and BYD will advance the former’s self-driving EV car agenda, if it pulls through.
Timeline for the Apple Car
Although Apple has been working on its proposed self-driving cars for years, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has pointed out that the firm’s new products will not be launched until 2025 to 2027, a wide deviation from the company’s own 2024 projections.
“We predicted in a previous report that Apple will launch Apple Car in 2023–2025 […] However, our latest survey indicates that the current development schedule of Apple Car is not clear, and if development starts this year and everything goes well, it will be launched in 2025–2027 at the earliest. Due to changes in the EV/self-driving market and Apple’s high-quality standards, we would not be surprised if Apple Car’s launch schedule is postponed to 2028 or later,” he said.
The EV industry is enjoying a number of backings from world governments as climate change regulations tighten. Apple is aiming to position itself for the huge industry estimated to be worth over $1.2993 trillion by 2030.