Is the Apple (AAPL 2.14%) Car getting closer to realization? According to a report published Tuesday by Reuters, the answer is "yes." In the article, which cited "people with knowledge of the matter," the U.S. tech giant is in talks with at least two Chinese battery makers to manufacture a power supply for its long-rumored autonomous vehicle.
The report's sources identified BYD and Contemporary Amperex Technology as the battery companies currently engaged in the discussions. Both are significant global electric vehicle (EV) battery makers; the latter supplies the current king of the EV hill, Tesla. It is unknown whether Apple is talking to other manufacturers.
One potential sticking point, according to two of the sources, is Apple's apparent insistence that the Apple Car's batteries be manufactured in the U.S. That could prove a tough sell given the trade tensions between the two nations over the past few years. The high costs and the logistical/managerial challenges of operating a major facility overseas might also be deterrents.
If Apple were to win this concession, the victory would be applauded at the highest levels of government. Having a U.S.-situated factory for the batteries would be, as senior White House economic advisor Jared Bernstein was quoted by Reuters as saying, "completely consistent with what the president has talked about in terms of onshoring supply chains particularly in areas where we might grab global market share."
Apple has never confirmed the persistent rumors about its development of the Apple Car. Maintaining an admirable consistency, it has not commented on the Reuters story. Neither BYD or Amperex has made an official statement about it, either.