American tech giant Apple has reportedly entered talks with Toyota about producing its first electric vehicle.
According to DigiTimesAsia, representatives from Apple are in Japan for face-to-face talks with Toyota.
New to the automotive industry, Apple is expected to rely on a manufacturing partner to build its as-yet unconfirmed electric car.
It’s uncertain whether these discussions with Toyota are about becoming a potential manufacturing partner, or simply becoming a supplier.
Previously reported by Reuters, Apple indicated it’s designing a unique battery with a “monocell” construction that bulks up the individual cells in the battery pack and frees up space.
The company is also examining a chemical for the battery called lithium iron phosphate (LFP).
This chemistry is said to be less likely to overheat and safer than other lithium-ion batteries.
LFP batteries are weaker in colder temperatures than lithium-ion batteries, however they are usually cheaper.
Some electric vehicles with Korean-built lithium-ion batteries, such as the Hyundai Kona Electric, have been recalled due to potential fire risks.
Earlier discussions between Apple, LG, and Magna International reportedly centred around manufacturing LFP batteries as part of a new joint venture called “LG Magna e-Powertrain”.
In April 2021, the potential LG Magna e-Powertrain partnership was valued at US$1 billion (A$1.3 billion), with LG owning 51 per cent and Magna the other 49 per cent.
Magna’s subsidiary, Magna Steyr, currently produces the Jaguar I-Pace.
Apple also reportedly wants to reveal a prototype of its electric autonomous vehicle by 2024.
Earlier in 2021 Apple reportedly held discussions with Chinese manufacturers, BYD and CATL, but talks fell through.
There were also discussions with Hyundai Motor Group about having its car built at the Kia factory in the US state of Georgia, but this also fell through.
It is still unclear where Apple will source its batteries and its manufacturing facilities.
Apple is notoriously secretive about its car, and the company hasn’t commented on any developments.