Apparently in discussions with Korean and Japanese vendors is the Apple automobile team.

In order to prepare for the mass production of the “Apple Car” by 2024, it is rumored that Apple is visiting Asian suppliers and automakers. Although specifics of the rumored visits are unknown, battery supply may be a key concern.

Apple may be traveling to Japan to speak with Toyota after visiting the SK Group and LG Electronics in South Korea, according to rumors.
Apple Car lithium battery

The battery is the most crucial and expensive component of an EV. Increasingly, national security and defense as well as technical advancement depend on lithium batteries. Apple was apparently in discussions for battery supply with Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and BYD in China just a few months ago, but the political climate between the US and China is making things difficult. It’s unlikely that CATL or BYD will establish a factory in the US to make batteries for Apple.

Apple is believed to be looking for battery supply from South Korea and Japan since it insists on producing EV batteries in the United States.

Panasonic from Japan, LG Electronics Solution (LGES), SK Innovation (SKI), and Samsung SDI from South Korea, as well as CATL and BYD from China, are some of the well-known Asian producers who primarily concentrate on NMC and LFP batteries. 95% of the LFP batteries used in the world are produced by Chinese suppliers, and their home market can support their output.

Tesla is currently the largest customer for automobile batteries. Demand for automotive batteries is outpacing supply at a rapid rate as traditional OEs like Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW, Toyota, and Ford race to manufacture electric vehicles and buy up startup battery makers to secure supply.

Despite rumors that LG Magna e-Powertrain had a deal with Apple, the company already has a backlog of orders from American and European original equipment manufacturers (OEs) for the foreseeable future. It is unsure if it would be able to completely satisfy Apple’s demand.

Without a sizable market share in the automotive industry and an adequate supply of batteries, Apple, like many other startup OEs, may find it difficult to compete with established OEs.

Hyundai or Toyota?

While some applaud the speculations of collaborations between Apple and Toyota, others believe Hyundai would be a better business partner. The rumors illustrate the complex interactions between new companies and established automakers.

The largest draw for Toyota is Tesla’s large-scale EV production and market share. Early this year, there were unconfirmed rumors that Toyota and Tesla would collaborate.

Even though Apple is the leading producer of consumer gadgets and software, building cars is a first for the company. With EVs and autonomous vehicles, Tesla is further advanced in the automotive industry. With the first-mover advantage, Google’s Android Automotive OS (AAOS) has worked with a few conventional OEs to develop an operating system.

No other information was provided, although it was said that Hyundai was interested in Apple’s auto operating system.

There are a lot of potential difficulties for the Apple Car team from the standpoint of the global supply chain. Apple is still many suppliers’ prince charming, though.


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