Volkswagen Poaches Apple’s Global Battery Chief to Work in Germany

Photo: Volkswagen

Apple has hired Soonho Ahn from Samsung SDI Co. back in late 2019 to lead the iPhone maker’s global battery developments, and now the latter has been poached by Volkswagen to work in Germany.

Manager Magazin reports Volkswagen is has hired Ahn to ramp up its PowerCo battery division. According to Ahn’s LinkedIn, he is currently listed as the CTO Battery Division, Group Components, at Volkswagen AG, working in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany.

Soonho ahn apple volkswagen

Volkswagen plans to build six battery cell factories in Europe this decade, with the capacity to make 4 million electric cars per year, with hopes to be one of the top three battery cell makers worldwide. The German automaker has also recently hired battery cell expert Jörg Hoffmann from BMW, as it hopes to hold its own against EV leader Tesla.

Ahn earned his Ph.D in Chemical Engineering in 1992 at Auburn University in Alabama, an alma mater of Apple CEO Tim Cook. He also holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, along with a Bachelor’s degree in the same field of study from Seoul National University.

Prior to working at Apple and Samsung, Ahn held a short stint as a Professor in Energy & Chemical Engineering Department at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, and prior to that, he was a long-time executive at LG Chem, serving as VP of Energy Solutions.

The loss of Ahn to Volkswagen appears to be another bump in the road for Apple’s self-driving electric vehicle plans, known internally as “Project Titan”. Apple previously lost its car project chief to Ford.

A recent report by Bloomberg detailed Apple’s car plans have accelerated with a launch timeline now pegged internally for four years to produce a vehicle. The purported Apple vehicle would lack a steering wheel and pedals, as it would be fully self-driving.