Apple Inc is in early talks with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL, 新能源科技) and BYD Co (比亞迪) about the supply of batteries for its planned electric vehicle, four people with knowledge of the matter said.
The discussions are subject to change and it is not clear if agreements with CATL or BYD would be reached, said the people, who declined to be named as the discussions are private.
Apple has made building manufacturing facilities in the US a condition for potential battery suppliers, two of the sources said.
CATL, which supplies major auto makers including Tesla Inc, is reluctant to build a US factory due to political tensions between Washington and Beijing, as well as cost concerns, the two people said.
It was not immediately clear whether Apple is also talking to other battery makers.
Apple, which has yet to make a public announcement about its vehicle plans, declined to comment. CATL, the world’s biggest automotive battery maker, and BYD, the world’s fourth largest, also declined to comment.
Apple is in favor of using lithium iron phosphate batteries, which are cheaper to produce because they use iron instead of more costly nickel and cobalt, the four people said.
It has been working on self-driving technology and has targeted 2024 for the production of a passenger vehicle, Reuters reported in December last year.
People familiar with the matter have previously said Apple’s planned electric vehicle could include its own breakthrough battery technology. It was not immediately clear if the discussions with CATL or BYD involved Apple’s own technology or designs.
The discussions come at a time when the US government is looking to attract more electric vehicle manufacturing.
US President Joe Biden’s proposed US$1.7 trillion infrastructure plan includes a US$174 billion budget to boost the domestic electric vehicle market with tax credits and grants for battery manufacturers, among other incentives.
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