Apple Reportedly Showed its Car Schematics to Texas A/C Parts Maker

As tech companies like Apple seek to break into the auto market with the onset of electric vehicles (EVs), the move away from engines and towards software is offering opportunities to previous outsiders to the market.

Along with other suppliers, Apple sought out the largest Japanese vehicle air conditioning unit manufacturer, Sanden, to help supply its EV project a few years ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the company’s efforts to join the coveted Apple Car project, according to a report from Nikkei Asia.

After discussing the added needs, largely including Apple’s need to create high-performance, software-compatible parts, the independent auto supplier agreed to pursue the partnership and began seeing Apple’s schematic designs for air conditioning units.

During the pandemic, however, Sanden saw a significant downturn in cash flow, leading the company to work out a debt resolution in June 2020 – officially ending its chance to partner with Apple.

Still, the story holds an important lesson about how the auto industry is changing, and how tech companies are leveraging their relationships with suppliers and their expertise in software to catch up with traditional automakers in the EV race.

While Apple is now rumored to be developing the Apple Car alone, it will still need component suppliers, and it will also be starting from nearly the same place as traditional automakers since EVs are so new.

With its added tech, software and AI emphases, Apple and other tech companies may even be poised to succeed in an industry previously dominated by hardware.

Last week, tech giant Sony teased a new, upcoming vehicle just last week, and Amazon is set to partner with auto giant Stellantis to build out an EV software by 2024 – just two examples of the burgeoning opportunity in mobility for tech companies.