Tech

Apple could partner with BMW to build car

It's no secret that Apple wants to build a car - but their favoured automotive partners might have just pulled into view.

Reuters has received word from sources within BMW that senior executives from Apple, including CEO Tim Cook, took a tour of the German carmaker's Leipzig factory last year to learn how it makes the i3 electric car.

The visit included talks between senior BMW staff and the Apple contingent over possible partnerships in creating an Apple Car - though the sources told Reuters that the talks ended inconclusively, with the Californian tech giant keen to explore building a passenger car independently. Word of the tour has only recently come to light after it was mentioned in a report in Germany's Manager-Magazin in late July.

The all-electric BMW i3

BMW was also said to be cautious about selling a competitive edge to further Apple's automotive dreams: BMW is apparently happy to licence parts to Apple, while Apple executives were keen to quiz BMW board members about tooling and mass production. 

It's uncertain exactly what parts BMW may licence to Apple: having apparently purchased a large battery manufacturer, Apple may have its own power source in order, but it could call on BMW to supply an electric engine, or even licence the whole chassis of the i3, drawing on BMW's existing manufacturing knowledge in the processes. 

Building a car arm from scratch could prove to be a gamble Apple doesn't want to engage in, with supply chains, repair services and physical car sales all new ground for the tech company. Selling an initial Apple Car via BMW might make sense, but it's yet to be seen what exact deal could be on the cards.

We'll bring you more word on Apple's 'Project Titan' car build as soon as it surfaces.

[Via: Reuters]

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