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Monday, January 24, 2022

Volkswagen poaches Apple’s global battery head

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Apple’s secretive ‘Project Titan’ autonomous electric car project appears to have received yet another blow.

Apple’s global head of battery development Soonho Ahn has left the tech giant for Volkswagen according to his LinkedIn profile.

As of November 2021, Mr Ahn is now the chief technology officer of the battery division for Volkswagen Group Components.

“The Volkswagen Group has poached two key battery technology experts from Apple and BMW,” said German publication Tagesschau when translated to English.

“This underlines the growing importance of this business for the Wolfsburg-based company.”

The BMW executive joining Volkswagen is Jörg Hoffman, who reportedly specialises in solid-state battery technology.

Volkswagen has bold plans to have six battery production plants in Europe by 2030 with an annual production capacity of 240 gigawatts.

Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess is setting sights on Tesla after reportedly holding back the company’s ‘Wolfsburg 2030’ five-year investment plan to counter the US electric vehicle (EV) giant.

Apple poached Mr Ahn from Samsung SDI in 2018, where at the time he was a top executive of battery innovation.

During his time at Apple, Mr Ahn may have worked on the battery technology for Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ electric car project although this, like all aspects of the project, is shrouded in secrecy.

Mr Ahn’s departure from Apple comes almost three months after Ford poached Doug Field, who was reportedly the head of Project Titan.

The US tech giant is reportedly accelerating the development of its EV and is aiming to have it launch by 2025.

With Apple’s vice-president of technology Kevin Lynch reportedly at the helm with no previous car or self-driving system experience, it’s uncertain if Apple will be able to meet this deadline.

The company has reportedly had five executives take charge of the project in roughly seven years.

Although the company is aiming to create an EV with autonomous driving capabilities, it’s uncertain what level the company is aiming to achieve.

One option Apple is reportedly discussing is introducing the car with a hidden steering wheel or pedals and an emergency takeover mode.

Do you think Apple will reveal its autonomous electric vehicle by 2025? Let us know in the comments

MORE: Apple aims to launch self-driving car by 2025 – report

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