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Apple May Have Found New Partners for Its EV Project

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 4/14/2021 Annie White
  • New reports have emerged about Apple's long-rumored self-driving car. Earlier this year, Apple was said to be in talks with Hyundai-Kia to partner on a self-driving car, but the talks fell apart.
  • The new rumors say Apple is close to signing a deal in which it would partner with Canadian manufacturer Magna International to build an EV powered by LG-supplied batteries and running on Apple software.
  • So far none of the companies involved have commented on the reported negotiations, so there's no guarantee that this deal will be finalized or that it will result in a physical car.

A report in the Korea Times today suggests that Apple has still not given up on its dreams of building (or at least selling) a self-driving electric vehicle. The first rumors that Apple was working on its own car surfaced in 2014. Since then, the company seems to have focused its car-related ambitions on the development of self-driving software, which would be used in a vehicle built by a partner company with expertise in vehicle manufacturing. Earlier this year, negotiations on the project between Apple and Hyundai-Kia fell through. But now, Apple may have found new targets in LG and Magna International.

If the reports circulating now are correct (none of the three companies responded immediately to our request for comment), Apple may be close to inking a deal to sell self-driving cars built by a joint venture between Korean tech company LG, and Magna International. LG's automotive batteries are already in over a million hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles, including in the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric. Magna is a Canadian manufacturing company that supplies parts to dozens of auto manufacturers worldwide, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, and Volkswagen. The joint venture between the two, still in its infancy, is working under the title LG Magna e-Powertrain, and will (theoretically, eventually) design and supply electric motors, inverters, and onboard chargers.


Gallery: Motor1 Apple Car Renderings (motor1.com)

It's still far too soon to say whether these talks will pan out. The LG/Magna partnership itself won't be final until at least July 2021, and will require approval by both shareholders and regulators. But there are some hopeful signs for those hoping to match their car to their smart phone: Apple has an existing relationship with LG (LG's Display division has built monitors sold by Apple). And while word on the street is that the Hyundai talks broke down because Hyundai executives worried they would appear to be merely acting as a supplier to Apple, rather than having significant ownership or control over the project, LG and Magna are already suppliers, so should be comfortable with the arrangement Apple is seeking.

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