The tech giant aims to compete in the rapidly expanding electric-car market with new battery technologies that improve vehicles’ safety and range, according to the report. The advancement will also “radically” cut down on battery costs, a source familiar with the plans told Reuters.
The report lifted Apple shares to a 1.2% gain on Monday after being released less than an hour before markets closed. Tesla, which would likely serve as Apple’s greatest competitor in the automotive sector, extended earlier losses and closed 6.5% lower.
Suppliers of lidar sensors rallied in early Monday trading after sources told Reuters that Apple plans to partner with other companies for some vehicle systems. Apple developed its own lidar sensors for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models.
The report revives talks of Apple’s automotive plan, known as Project Titan, after layoffs and leadership shakeup spurred rumours the project had died.
The company plans to incorporate a “monocell” design that concentrates battery cells and creates more space in battery packs by doing away with various storage pockets, according to the report. The layout allows for denser battery units and, in turn, a longer range than layouts with more loosely packed cells.
Apple is also experimenting with a lithium iron phosphate battery chemistry, a new mix that’s less likely to overheat than lithium-ion batteries, Reuters reported.
To be sure, even Apple’s expertise in handling massive supply chains would likely be tested by vehicle production. Tesla spent nearly two decades building cars before turning a steady profit. Apple would need to collaborate with a slew of new partners and venture into manufacturing processes not used in the production of its current hardware.
“If there is one company on the planet that has the resources to do that, it’s probably Apple. But at the same time, it’s not a mobile phone,” one person who worked on the car project told Reuters.
Apple closed at $US128.23 on Monday, up 76% year-to-date. The company has 75 “buy” ratings, 18 “hold” ratings, and three “sell” ratings from analysts.
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