The Korea Times, a major newspaper in Korea, reports that a joint venture between LG Electronics and Magna International is “very near” a contract with Apple to manufacture electric vehicles for the computer and smartphone giant.
LG Electronics has worked with automakers for ages to supply big portions of their vehicles — perhaps most famously (or infamously), the Chevy Bolt EV. LG Energy Solution (previously LG Chem) has been one of the largest EV battery producers for the whole modern electric vehicle era as well. Magna, meanwhile, is one of the top auto suppliers, manufacturers, and powertrain engineering firms in the world, often being the core company actually producing a vehicle with another brand’s name on it.
Apple has been rumored to be working on an electric car off and on for several years, with the project reportedly cancelled just as hype was rising highest. In the past year, news rose from the ashes that this Silicon Valley giant with an enormous mountain of cash sitting in the bank was going down this road again. Reports came out of potential collaboration with Hyundai (and then not). Then, more recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook (aka Tim Apple) basically confirmed that Apple was serious about developing a full-on electric vehicle. (We got a sneak peek, as you can see in the pics above and below*.)
Now, here’s what a source in the know reportedly told The Korea Times: “LG Magna e-Powertrain is very near to signing contracts with Apple under which they could handle the initial volume production of Apple EVs. Contract details are still being discussed.”
Production volumes are supposed to be low as Apple feels out the market and decides whether to try to make this a big element of its business.
The source added: “Because LG Group affiliates including LG Display, LG Chem, LG Energy Solution and LG Innotek are already included in Apple’s parts supply chain, Apple doesn’t have to worry about any supply chain issues. These LG affiliate are qualified to guarantee production yields and faster delivery of parts needed for Apple EVs.”
Naturally, no one is officially commenting on the rumor.
So, how close are we to an actual physical car you can touch and see? Well, if the contract goes through as expected, a car will be teased in … 2024.
If only more tech execs (like at Apple) were a little more ambitious, courageous, and effective to get a product like this to market sooner. As much as I’d like to see some true tech competition on the market for Tesla, I now again have to resort to the thought, “Well, at least we have Tesla to move the market along.”
The Korea Times adds a little more info on the LG and Magna joint venture: “LG Magna e-Powertrain is valued at $1 billion and will be assigned to manufacture e-motors, inverters and onboard chargers. LG will own 51 percent of the new company and Magna, 49 percent. The transaction is expected to close in July, pending LG shareholders’ approval among other conditions. LG has previously supplied motors, battery packs and other components for General Motors’ Bolt EV and to Tesla. Magna already makes automotive electronics for companies.”
* Naturally, this is a joke.
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