CanooSource: Canoo

What you need to know

  • Apple held talks with EV startup Canoo about acquiring the company.
  • The talks fell apart since Canoo was more interested in investment.

As reported by The Verge, Apple held talks in the first half of 2020 with Canoo, an electric vehicle startup from California. Two people familiar with the meetings say that topics ranged from investment to even the possibility of an acquisition. These meetings are notable as rumors continue to build about Apple's plans to release its own autonomous electric vehicle.

According to the sources, Apple became particularly interested in Canoo because of its different approach to the vehicle platform and its steering technology.

Canoo's scalable electric vehicle platform, or "skateboard," is largely what drew Apple's interest, the people said. The platform is different from ones developed by other startups and larger automakers because it integrates more of the car's electronics, allowing for greater flexibility in cabin design. It also features steer-by-wire technology, which also increases design flexibility and is not yet widely adopted in the industry.

According to the report, Apple was more interested in an acquisition but Canoo wanted investment, so the talks eventually fell apart.

Canoo was more interested in taking on an investment from Apple, two of the people said. Ultimately, the talks fell apart. Canoo has since become a publicly traded company after merging with a blank check fund that was listed on the NASDAQ in late 2020. Apple has made at least one other acquisition in the mobility space in recent years, buying Drive.ai in 2019.

Neither company would go into detail about the talks that were had, which is relatively standard in the industry.

"Canoo doesn't openly comment on strategic discussions, relationships or partnerships unless deemed appropriate," Tony Aquila, Canoo's executive chairman, said in a statement to The Verge. Apple declined to comment.

Rumors continue to swirl about Apple's plans for its own electric, fully autonomous car. Just yesterday, JP Morgan predicted that Apple plans to build its own car rather than partner with automakers and that the car will be fully autonomous, meaning that it will not require a driver behind the wheel (if a wheel exists at all).