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Apple discussing EV battery supply deal with China's CATL, BYD, report says

Could the Apple Car feature help from one of the Chinese battery giants?

Apple Car mockup
An EV needs a battery, after all.

At this point, a physical Apple Car sure is feeling a lot like a poorly kept secret. According to a new report from Reuters on Tuesday, Apple is busy discussing a potential battery deal with China's CATL and BYD. The tech giant wouldn't need automotive batteries if it didn't have its eye on building a real car, as opposed to just car software, that's for sure.

Citing sources familiar with the discussions, Apple wants to use a lithium-phosphate battery due to their cheaper construction and use of iron, rather than cobalt or nickel. It's not clear if these talks include previously reported "game-changing" battery technology Apple supposedly developed for its car program.

The company reportedly wants any firm it partners with for a battery supply deal to agree to the construction of a US facility for the program, however. That may be a sticking point with CATL, the world's largest battery supplier, which also supplies Tesla locally. The company is reportedly reluctant to build a US facility amid tensions between the US and China. BYD feels a little more friendly to the current political climate. Although it's a Chinese company, the firm currently employs a unionized workforce to build its electric buses in the US.

Apple did not immediately return a request for comment on the reported discussions, but expect silence. The company's been very private about its potential car plans for years now. Rumors heated up this year after discussions with Hyundai and Kia fell through to build the vehicle, before both said they would not partner with Apple. Right now, a 2024-2025 timeline for the vehicle is the best estimate from analysts, and the Apple Car could involve advanced self-driving technology the tech giant's also been hard at work on.

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