Apple has allegedly held secret talks with Californian startup Canoo.
Apple's on-again, off-again electric vehicle project appears to be on-again following revelations the tech giant was in discussions with Hyundai Motor Group to jointly develop an EV. If the proposal is approved, Apple could launch such a vehicle by 2024. But it appears Hyundai isn't the only company Apple has been talking to.
According to The Verge, Apple and California-based startup Canoo held meetings in the first half of 2020 where many options were on the table, including investment and even an outright acquisition. What does Canoo have to offer? A scalable "skateboard" EV platform. Canoo, which went public last summer, was already working with Hyundai to co-develop the architecture. But unlike, say, Rivian's own EV skateboard platform, Canoo's design integrates a greater amount of the car's electronic systems that enables more cabin layouts.
Other features include steer-by-wire technology which has yet to be fully utilized by competitors. Canoo was also experiencing serious financial problems when talks were taking place and Apple could have come to its rescue. Remember, this was before Canoo issued its IPO, a result of the talks falling apart. Canoo still aims to build commercial vehicles such as delivery vans and food trucks.
Now that it has the cash it so desperately needed at the beginning of last year (having raised nearly $600 million from the IPO), it's now far more likely that will happen. There have been no additional updates regarding its talks with Hyundai, which will soon launch its own EV-only sub-brand, Ioniq. Its first model, the Ioniq 5, is only weeks away from its official debut.
As for Apple, neither company is commenting on whether discussions are still taking place. However, Canoo stated in its Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it is "currently in discussions with multiple other blue-chip industry participants interested in leveraging Canoo's technologies and engineering expertise for their own commercial products."
Depending on Apple's desire to have an EV within the next three years or so, a deal with Canoo could certainly help, but a big-time player like Hyundai would instantly provide access to years of auto industry expertise.