With experts in both the automotive and the technology industries debating whether Apple is building a production-level vehicle or just creating a mock-up for research, new information suggests that the company is indeed creating a car-sized battery.
A portion of this evidence emerged following a recently settled lawsuit between Apple and A123 Systems, a lithium-ion battery developer and manufacturer. In the suit, A123 declared that Apple was poaching employees from A123, benefiting from their expertise and confidential trade information to establish a new battery department.
“Upon information and belief, Apple is currently developing a large scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123,” state court documents filed by A123’s lawyers.
“In connection with that development, beginning in or around June of 2014, defendant Apple embarked on an aggressive campaign to poach employees of A123 and to otherwise raid A123’s business…
“…all of the Individual Defendants [allegedly poached by Apple from A123] are working in a field of battery science, technology, and/or products that is substantially similar if not identical to the field they worked on in at A123.”
Though no smoking gun exists that indisputably connects that Apple’s actions with an automotive battery, after reviewing many recent activities, it certainly appears that Apple is developing a lithium-ion battery large enough to power a vehicle.
For example, one of the employees that Apple hired away from A123 was Mujeeb Ijaz. Previously the chief technical officer at A123, Ijaz’s resume also states that the department he ran “will service internal and external customers with energy storage solutions, engineering services, and advanced Motor Sports Lithium Ion technology for Formula 1 Racing ERS with unparalleled power density.”
Before working at A123, Ijaz also spent 16 years working on battery and fuel cell technology for Ford Motor Company.
Other court documents from A123 state that Apple hired more employees away from LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Toshiba, all with expertise in batteries.
It was also learned last week that Apple is expanding one of its factories in Ireland, and will be hiring a global supplier manager for the location that is experienced in the automotive, robotics or aeronautic field.
Additionally, after meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week, Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne commented that Cook is “interested in an intervention in the car.”
The U.K. edition of Business Insider listed almost a dozen other events supporting the idea that a production vehicle is indeed in Apple’s future.
SEE ALSO: Should We Expect An Apple Car or Not?
Others agree that Apple is most likely building an electrified car, but don’t believe that the tech company intends to mass-produce it. Instead, the vehicle would serve only as a research and development tool.
However, if Apple doesn’t intend to manufacture a car and is only testing applications for the automotive industry, it doesn’t explain why the company is putting so much effort into battery development.
To date, Apple hasn’t clarified its project or direction further, offering no public comments on the matter.
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)