By on August 11, 2021

Apple has been in the headlines all week over changes to its policy that is introducing a image detection system that effectively allows the company to scan the iCloud to see if you have any illegal photos on there. While framed primarily as a way for the company to root out pedophilia, it’s gotten the company in trouble with an increasingly privacy savvy public that’s convinced the next step is generalized surveillance. But while the technology company has been busy trying to improve optics, issuing assurances that its new security protocols won’t overlap with government action and claims that its actions are no worse than what its chief rivals are already doing, the latest on the Apple Car is going unaddressed.

The off-and-on-again vehicle program is reportedly making moves with South Korean suppliers to ensure its got a lock on components. Curious, considering we were under the impression that the automobile was nowhere near completion

The most forgiving of estimates places Apple manufacturing an actual car sometime in 2024. But we’ve heard from the company that it planned on commencing production as far back as 2019. This has made predictive timelines totally useless. Though that’s something that’s no less true for most other tech firms vying to produce vehicle and the main reason we have to go over reports with the maximum level of skepticism this black heart can muster.

According to the Korea Times, Apple has made contact with multiple suppliers necessary to build its iCar without the need for it to have manufacturing facilities of its own. It’s on par with the company’s current strategy, which is already heavily dependent upon a seamless global supply chain. There have likewise been rolling reports that the company would outsource as much vehicle production as it could, should it make the leap to automobiles.

“Apple officials have been in Korea for business talks with its Korean partners in the semiconductor and display sectors. As seen in Apple’s smartphone business, the company is seeking business partners in Korea for its EV business,” a senior industry executive directly involved with the issue told the outlet.

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.”

Those meetings were said to be specifically about automotive production and battery supply. Interestingly, neither LG Chem or SK Innovation felt comfortable confirming or denying executives had met with Apple. But it makes sense that Apple would be attempting to distance itself from the increasingly unstable geopolitical situation focused around China without abandoning its established Asian supply networks. There also aren’t too many other regions where one could reliably source a glut of batteries every year. But the company’s choice in power sources could ultimately dictate China’s level of involvement.

From Korea Times:

Apple is considering using a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, which is less likely to overheat and is therefore safer, compared to lithium-ion batteries, which most Korean battery makers are currently manufacturing.

Made of lithium and iron phosphate, LFP batteries show weaker performances at colder temperatures than lithium-ion batteries, but they cost less. In the LFP battery business, mainland Chinese makers take the lead, as there are no Korean makers producing the batteries.

Given the fact that Korean battery firms don’t produce LFP batteries and mainland Chinese battery makers are at the forefront of the LFP battery business, industry views are that Apple is likely to use LFP batteries from these Chinese vendors. According to China Automotive Battery Research Institute, Chinese battery makers such as CATL and BYD provided LFP batteries amounting to 30.8 gigawatt-hours last year, which accounted for 47 percent of the entire EV battery market.

Of course, the situation could be totally different by the time Apple finally gets around to manufacturing the iCar. With the vehicle’s development already several years behind schedule and program cancellations being as common as reboots, we might not see a physical product until well after 2025. By then, the United States might be producing batteries in meaningful volumes — including the lithium iron phosphate units it’s rumored to be seeking.

[Image: withGod/Shutterstock]

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13 Comments on “Apple Car Seeking Friendship in South Korea...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I still don’t believe these rumors. Apple has much to lose by getting into the car building business.

    Worse, what’s described here is outsourcing everything even more than American Motors did. That is a plan for failure.

    “By then, the United States might be producing batteries in meaningful volumes”
    Technically, the US doesn’t produce batteries – private companies do. And since all those batteries are spoken for, the batteries Apple’s mythical car needs would have to come from a real factory with substantial excess capacity.

    Besides, assigning the name “Apple” to a venture doesn’t guarantee success. Any Apple car would meet hungry wolves upon its market entry. Their on-off commitment should make any potential buyer nervous.

    I put this up there with Faraday Future or Fisker.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Lots of words, very little substance. People who use Android would never, ever buy an iCar. Ok, there will be outliers. Not every iPhone user would buy an iCar. Regardless of what devices and operating systems they use; NO ONE and I mean NO ONE would trust an OS developer to make sure their vehicle ran correctly. Ain’t happening.

  • avatar

    iCar… with a little modification becomes iRac. Wait, it happened before

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I was an Apple engineer for 11 years. Trust me, there are no dim bulbs there, especially in upper management. Whatever they do will be well thought out in advance. They have enough cash in the bank to ensure a supply of batteries–much more cash than any of the “big” three. And Apple is not like Google, who routinely throws around billions on boondoggles like Google Glass, or Project Aria or buying Motorola for $12billon and selling it for $6billion a couple of years later. Don’t bet against Apple.

  • avatar

    It would be a very Apple-style move to get a hammerlock on battery supply for delivery right around the time when the regulatory push to EVs starts to really bite.

    Part of the reason Android phones can’t catch up in CPU performance is because Apple literally locked up most of the chip fab capacity on the latest process.

    Before that, there was the time a few years ago when several Android vendors were production-constrained on phones because they couldn’t get the appropriate RAM; again, Apple had the supply locked up.

  • avatar

    Apple lost approximately 72.879% of its mojo when it lost Steve Jobs.

    Look for these features 14 months after this vehicle [eventually] launches:
    • Best Tools for Opening Factory-Sealed Hood of Apple Car
    • Best Software for Jailbreaking Apple Car OS

    (Will Apple change the charging cord design every 37 months?)

  • avatar

    Apple won’t produce an electric car for the same reason Tesla won’t produce a smartphone. Tesla has such a big lead in EV development why even bother. GM and Nissan are barely competitive with Tesla when it comes to EVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Apple won’t produce a car because anyone who looks at the profit margin on there current offerings compared to even a best case scenario on an automobile would run away.

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