Few weeks ago, there were rumours of Apple being interested in buying McLaren. The rationale according to the Financial Times was that Apple (who recently downsized their secret automomous vehicle project) would leverage McLaren’s advanced motorsport and technology expertise for an easier entry into the autonomous vehicle arena.
In a Bloomberg article, Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen said: “Getting into McLaren would give Apple engineering and carmaking competency at the pointy end. This is about gaining research and development knowledge, not about about buying a carmaker with mass-production capabilities.”
McLaren was quick to issue a denial saying:“McLaren is not in discussion with Apple about any potential investment” but this does not refute an approach.
Just a few days after the Apple rumour leaked, McLaren Applied Technology was announced as the exclusive supplier of batteries for 2 years to the FIA Formula E racing series from Season 5 (2018 – 2020) and that the battery density would double, allowing drivers to race without swapping cars mid-race as they currently do.
Addendum – 8th October: Motorsport.com revealed that McLaren Applied Technologies would use cell technology from Sony on this tender and that MAT’s Battery Management System (BMS) capabilities which the tender evaluators considered “very impressive”.
No doubt, this battery capability and exclusive contract could be significant in negotiations with Apple or any other potential buyer(s).