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Exclusive: Apple held talks with electric car startup Canoo in 2020



Three people familiar with the matter told Apple that Apple held a meeting with California electric car startup Canoo in the first half of 2020 as part of a secret effort by the Silicon Valley giant to advance its electric car project. edge. Two people familiar with the matter said that the two companies discussed various options from investment to acquisition.

People familiar with the matter said that Canoo’s scalable electric vehicle platform or “skateboard” has largely aroused Apple’s interest. This platform is different from those developed by other start-up companies and large automakers, because the platform integrates more automotive electronics, allowing greater flexibility in cabin design. It also has steer-by-wire technology, which also improves design flexibility and has not been widely adopted in the industry.

Two people familiar with the matter said Canoo is more interested in investing from Apple. In the end, the negotiations broke down. Since the merger with the Blank Check Fund listed on the Nasdaq at the end of 2020, Canoo has become a public company. Apple has made at least another acquisition in the mobile space in recent years, acquiring Drive.ai in 201

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“Canoo will not comment publicly on strategic discussions, relationships or partnerships unless it considers it appropriate,” Canoo Executive Chairman Tony Aquila said in a statement: edge. Apple declined to comment.

News that Apple is interested in Canoo Reuters According to reports, the technology company negotiated with Hyundai Motor as early as 2024 to produce unmanned electric cars. Apple’s car project code-named “Project Titan” has been transformed many times over the years. But according to reports, the company is now refocusing on producing self-driving electric vehicles and has been holding meetings with automakers of the size of Canoo and Hyundai because it hopes to outsource services such as technical design and manufacturing.

Hyundai Motor and Canoo had previously announced plans to jointly develop electric vehicles in February 2020, although the project does not appear to be related to the startup’s negotiations with Apple. Canoo referred to its partnership with Hyundai as an “engineering service agreement” in a recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which will allow the two companies to jointly develop a platform that powers “small electric vehicles.” But Canoo has not disclosed whether it has paid for Hyundai Transaction or whether it has started any work.

Canoo was founded by a small group of people at the end of 2017. The group was spun off from the troubled EV startup Faraday Future and included several former BMW executives.Such as edge It was initially reported that this effort was funded by a Chinese investor, the son of the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party, and the family responsible for the Taiwanese technology company TPK, which provided Apple with touch screen technology. Canoo plans to produce commercial electric vehicles, such as delivery vans or food trucks, and consumer-centric vans sold on a subscription basis. All Canoo vehicles use the same scalable skateboard technology.

The meeting with Apple was a critical moment for Canoo. According to a recent document from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Canoo lost $182.3 million in 2019 when developing its first prototype. By 2020 There were only $29 million in the bank at the time.

People familiar with the matter said that Canoo held meetings in 2019 and 2020 with a number of companies from China’s Silicon Valley and other regions. But because the transaction failed to materialize, the startup needs short-term funding. It received a loan of 7 million US dollars from the government’s pandemic salary protection plan, and in March 2020, it received a loan from Pu Tan Li (Chinese investor) and the Chiang family (TPK) after negotiations with Apple were delayed. Owner) received another $15 million loan there. Documents submitted to the SEC.

Canoo finally started negotiations with the blank check fund Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. IV in the second half of this year. It is one of the first startups to use this trend, which uses so-called “special purpose acquisition companies” to shorten the traditional public listing route. According to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents, after the completion of the transaction, the Jiang family invested another $80 million in the start-up company, and the chairman who is about to become an executive director invested another $35 million. When the transaction closed at the end of 2020, Canoo had raised approximately $600 million.

Although Canoo now has the funds it seeks in early 2020, it has not diminished its ambitions to work with large companies like Apple. The startup said in the same SEC filing that it is “currently in discussions with other blue-chip industry participants who are interested in using Canoo’s technical and engineering expertise for their own commercial products.”


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