(Pocket-lint) - Senior industry sources have told reporters at The Korea Times that executives from Apple have been in the country as of late to negotiate and discuss future plans for electric car component manufacturing.
The industry of electric vehicles (EVs) is one that is rapidly growing, and if Apple wants to sustain its status as the richest company in the world, expanding into a market as hugely lucrative as cars certainly makes plenty of sense on-paper.
However, substantiated leaks of how an Apple Car might look, preform, or anything else of that sort have been all but extinct. Apple does somewhat openly preform road tests for its internal testing of self-driving cars using their own LiDAR units, but those modules are equip onto any standard Lexus off an auto lot.
According to The Korea Times report, Apple exes "have been in Korea for business talks with its Korean partners in the semiconductor and display sectors [and now] the company is seeking business partners in Korea for its EV business".
Insiders speculate that Apple held "advanced" level meetings with other higher-ups from SK Innovation - the branch of LG that manufactures electric car batteries.
One of the ways Apple plans to stand out from the EV competition is by sourcing lithium iron phosphate batteries, aka LFP batteries, as opposed to the traditionally used lithium-ion batteries inside of almost every single piece of tech available today.
LFP batteries are considered to be more durable in terms of being longer lasting batteries than can handle more recharge cycles than typical li-ion units can, but they also have a lower initial energy density as compared to a li-ion unit of the same weight and size. They're also supposed to be far safer and less prone to overheating, which has gotta be high up on Apple’s priority list.
But perhaps the most important aspect of these batteries are that they contain neither nickel nor cobalt - two resources which generally see massive supply constraints and would make rapid mass production much more difficult.
Apple wouldn't be the first to market with this new LFP battery tech, as Tesla already utilises them, but only in a very small batch of Chinese-manufactured Models 3 and Y. CEO Elon Musk, however, tweeted that the company plans on making a full transition from lithium-ion to LFP sometime in the near future.
Nickel is our biggest concern for scaling lithium-ion cell production. That's why we are shifting standard range cars to an iron cathode. Plenty of iron (and lithium)!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 25, 2021
As for an expected Apple Car release date, don't plan on seeing anything come out of the company until at least 2025, as reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the Apple Car development is still in the early stages, with the Cupertino giant aiming for a launch as late as 2028 or beyond.