Apple approached BMW last year regarding its rumored electric car project, reports German business magazine Manager. The publication says that Tim Cook and other senior executives visited the i3 assembly plant in Leipzig, Germany during “autumn 2014” to discuss the possibility of using the i3 as the basis for its own vehicle.
For those who aren’t familiar with the i3, it’s BMW’s urban 5-door electric car that looks like a hatchback from the future. It’s been generally well-received by critics, but with a 0-60 time approaching 7 seconds and a battery range of under 100 miles, it’s not turning nearly as many heads as the model S and other Tesla-made cars.
So why would Apple be interested in the i3? The consensus seems to be that it might be particularly interested in its shell, which has already been crashed-spec’d. Getting a vehicle to pass safety certifications, which test how well the body, doors and hood will hold up in a crash, can be an extremely complicated and expensive endeavor.
Reports that Apple has begun work on an electric car began circulating in February, and the company has since hired a number of high profile auto executives and provided other evidence that suggests there are some truth to the reports. Bloomberg claims the iPhone-maker hopes to have its vehicle ready for mass production by 2020.
According to the Manager, the talks between Apple and BMW have fallen off in recent months, but the two have agreed to keep lines of communication open.