It’s been implied that Apple has started working on an ‘iCar’ seeing as the company is being accused of poaching A123 employees for their expertise in car battery technology. Owned by Wanxiang Group, A123 manufactures batteries and energy storage systems for various applications. This is not the first time we’re hearing about the iPhone maker’s interest in automobiles.
Back in February 2014, there were rumors of Apple’s Adrian Perica meeting with Elon Musk who serves as CEO of Tesla Motors. The tech giant was apparently keen on buying the aforesaid electric car company, though it now looks like it’d prefer putting together a team of its own to meet its ambition. But don’t go thinking that it will build an ‘iCar’ from scratch when it can attract the right personnel without breaking a sweat.
A post on ExtremeTech says that A123 has filed a lawsuit against Apple for poaching 5 of its best researchers. One Mujeeb Ijaz has been accused of actively recruiting the other 4, in violation of the non-compete clause he had signed after being hired by the battery manufacturer. Apart from this, Apple has supposedly plucked some talents from LG, Panasonic, Toshiba, Johnson Controls and arch rival Samsung too.
Apple obviously wants to create an electric car by recruiting experienced individuals instead of paying its own engineers to work on the project from the ground up. It may have been forced to surreptitiously hire A123’s researchers because established experts in the industry have already been engaged by automobile makers such Tesla. The company was reportedly warned by A123 about Ijaz having breached his contract.
A123 clearly has to do a thorough job of presenting the evidence against Apple stealing its employees for their knowledge in car battery technology, in order to win the case. Or it may have to settle for whatever settlement is slipped to it, in the very least.