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Exclusive: Apple held talks with EV startup Canoo in 2020

Apple held a meeting with California’s EV startup canoe in early 2020 as part of a secret effort by the Silicon Valley giant to drive its own electric vehicle project, three people familiar with the meeting said. Ta The Verge.. The two companies discussed options from investment to acquisition, according to two people familiar with the matter.

People said that the canoe’s scalable electric vehicle platform, the “skateboard,” was primarily of interest to Apple. The platform, unlike those developed by other start-ups and major automakers, integrates more automotive electronics and increases cabin design flexibility. It also features steer-by-wire technology, which gives you more design flexibility and is not yet widely adopted in the industry.

The canoe was more interested in undertaking investment from Apple, two people said. Eventually, the negotiations collapsed. Canoo became a publicly traded company after merging with a blank check fund listed on NASDAQ in late 2020. Apple has made at least one acquisition in the mobility sector in recent years, acquiring Drive.ai in 2019.

“Canoeing does not openly comment on strategic discussions, relationships or partnerships unless it seems appropriate,” Tony Aquila, executive chairman of the canoe, said in a statement. The Verge.. Apple declined to comment.

News of Apple’s interest in canoeing comes as follows Reuters Tech companies report that they are in talks with Hyundai to build self-driving electric vehicles as early as 2024. Apple’s vehicle project, codenamed “Project Titan,” has changed shape over the years. However, the company is now refocusing on the manufacture of autonomous electric vehicles and is reportedly holding meetings with automakers from canoe to Hyundai to outsource technology design and manufacturing. I am.

Hyundai and Canoe previously announced plans to co-develop an electric vehicle in February 2020, but the project seems to have nothing to do with negotiations with startup Apple. Canoe, in a recent submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission, called the partnership with Hyundai an “engineering service contract,” and the two companies will jointly develop a platform to power “small-segment electric vehicles.” However, the canoe does not reveal whether it was paid for a modern transaction or if any work began.

Canoo was founded in late 2017 by a small group, including several former BMW executives, separated from the struggling EV startup Faraday Future.So The Verge The first reported effort was funded by a Chinese investor, the son-in-law of a former CCP leader, and a family member of TPK, a Taiwanese technology company that provides touchscreen technology to Apple. Canoo plans to manufacture commercial electric vehicles such as delivery vans and food trucks, as well as consumer vans sold on a subscription basis. All Canoo vehicles are equipped with the same scalable skateboarding technology.

Negotiations with Apple have come at a crucial time for Canoo, according to a recent submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Canoo lost $ 182.3 million in 2019 during the development of its first prototype vehicle and entered 2020 with just $ 29 million in banks.

People said the canoe held meetings with various companies in Silicon Valley and other regions of China in 2019 and 2020. However, the startup needed short-term funding because the deal didn’t happen. In March 2020, received a $ 7 million loan from the government’s Pandemic Paycheck Protection Program, totaling from Pak Tam Li (Chinese investor) and Chiang family (TPK owner) as negotiations with Apple prolong. Received a $ 15 million loan. For SEC filing.

Canoe finally began negotiations with Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corporation IV, a blank check fund later this year. This was one of the first startups to jump into this trend of using so-called “special purpose acquirers” to shorten the path to traditional IPOs. According to SEC Filing, the Chen family invested another $ 80 million in startups when the deal was closed, and the upcoming chairman invested $ 35 million. Canoo raised about $ 600 million when the deal closed near the end of 2020.

Canoo now has the money it was looking for in early 2020, but couldn’t ease its ambition to work with a big company like Apple. “We are currently discussing with several other top-tier corporate participants who are interested in applying their canoeing technology and engineering expertise to their commercial products,” the startup said in the same SEC filing.

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