Autonomous vehicle tie-up denied by Nissan

Motor manufacturer Nissan has denied it is in talks with Apple to develop an autonomous vehicle.

The denial follows a report that the iPhone maker approached the Japanese company in recent months about a tie-up for its autonomous car project.

The Financial Times had reported the companies had had brief discussions that faltered over Nissan’s reluctance to become an assembler for Apple-branded cars, adding that the talks had not advanced to senior management level.

“We are not in talks with Apple,” a Nissan spokeswoman said. “However, Nissan is always open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate industry transformation.”

As previously reported, Apple is understood to be moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology.

According to Reuters, the iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch.

Central to Apple’s strategy is supposedly a new battery design that could radically reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range, according to the reports.

Apple reportedly plans to use a unique “monocell” design that bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials.

The design means that more active material can be packed inside the battery, giving the car a potentially longer range. Apple is also examining a chemistry for the battery called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, the person said, which is inherently less likely to overheat and is thus safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.