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Apple Possibly Exploring Hollow-Type Batteries

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On: Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 6:18PM | By: Carl Malek


Apple Possibly Exploring Hollow-Type Batteries

Apple's rumored Project Titan autonomous car has existed under a tightly guarded veil of secrecy ever since it was first mentioned in a report several years ago. However, a new report reveals that the tech giant is exploring a new type of battery technology to help provide juice to its long rumored vehicle project.

The report, which emerged in South Korea, claims that Apple has signed an initial agreement—that featured a non-disclosure clause (NDA)—with a South Korean battery company. This came from a company official who provided this intriguing bit of information in an interview with ETnews—refuses to disclose the company's name due to the NDA. While the NDA has helped keep formal details a secret, it is known that the South Korean battery company is comprised of about 20 employees, and holds several patents for hollow-type batteries.

A key reason Apple could have made this particular move is because hollow-core batteries have the ability to "quickly exhaust heat" while providing a safer way to vent dangerous gases if the battery cells do experience a catastrophic failure. The batteries' inventors state that the individual cells in the battery could be arranged in either parallel or series configurations without requiring costly welding techniques to keep them in place. This would also allow the hollow cores to maintain optimum airflow through numerous series-connected cells.

While this bit of technology does show some signs of initial promise, it is important to remember that the majority of battery concepts ultimately do not see production, due to factors such as cost, practicality, and feasibility. Despite this, some automakers still participate in research that explores the potential of technologies like this in hope that they can be successfully adapted for formal vehicle production.

Meanwhile, many current hybrid and EV offerings already benefit from advances in current lithium-ion battery technology as well as the subsequent drop in price that resulted. Look for this price to drop even further over the next few years as companies find new ways to make lithium-ion batteries more efficient while decreasing the size of the battery pack at the same time.

Perhaps in a sign that Apple has vested interests in this venture, separate reports suggest that the California-based tech giant is also exploring recent innovations related to EV battery charging. The reports suggest that the company is in a big hunt for suitable technology in this arena that could give Apple's vehicle a sizable edge over competitors. Apple's rumored vehicle offering is expected to be launched sometime in 2021. This timeframe would allow the company to perfect and tweak the concept while taking advantage of its high levels of secrecy to keep prying eyes away from the project until the company is ready to formally unveil a rolling prototype.

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