Apple in talks to acquire British supercar maker McLaren

“Apple has approached McLaren Technology Group, the British supercar engineer and Formula One team owner, about a potential acquisition, in the clearest sign yet that the iPhone maker is seeking to transform the automotive industry,” Matthew Garrahan and Tim Bradshaw report for The Financial Times.

“The California technology group, which has been working on a self-driving electric vehicle for more than two years, is considering a full takeover of McLaren or a strategic investment, according to three people briefed on the negotiations who said talks started several months ago,” Garrahan and Bradshaw report. “A tie-up with McLaren, whose expertise ranges from automotive engineering and on-board computer systems to novel chassis materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium, could accelerate Apple’s secretive automotive project.”

“The lossmaking automotive group was likely to be valued at between £1bn and £1.5bn, the people said, adding that it was not clear a deal would be done,” Garrahan and Bradshaw report. “McLaren produces luxury sports cars that can cost as much as $1m apiece and owns an advanced technologies group, as well as the eponymous Formula One racing team. The owners of McLaren Technology control 80 per cent of McLaren Automotive. It produced 1,654 vehicles last year, generating revenues of £450m, and has pledged to invest £1bn in the next six years on research and development. McLaren Technology reported revenues of £265m and pre-tax losses of £22.6m in 2014, its last published accounts. It is owned by Ron Dennis, its chairman, Mansour Ojjeh, and Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund.”

Garrahan and Bradshaw report, “Apple’s interest in the Woking-based company centres on its technology, engineering prowess and patent portfolio, according to people briefed on the talks.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Titillating.

25 Comments

  1. The electric car as a broad universal replacement for petroleum based cars, while potentially profitable, is going to prove to be Fool’s Gold (FeS2) for many.

    The math for the conversion of the automotive fleet to electric does not add up at scale. The same is true for those expecting to replace the entire electric generation capacity with renewables- the math of scaling such a project with current technology is also a problem.

    Electric cars are great – I own stock in Tesla – but if one takes the time to do the math it does not scale. As one source in a mix, yes. As an outright replacement for Gasoline and Diesel, not any time soon.

    1. Apple’s fuel cell patents suggest this won’t be an electric car like the ones we currently see. Instead of plugging in and charging a battery, it might be interesting to more efficiently extract the energy in hydrocarbon fuels, instead of just exploding it and letting most of it slip away as heat.

      1. No, using hydrocarbon fuels in fuel cells accomplishes nothing. The simple, difficult goal is no carbon fuels at all.

        Show me that and I’ll be interested. Meanwhile, all this garbage about electric cars that ACTUALLY require carbon fuels is bullshit. Plain old bullshit. The carbon fuel companies love it.

    2. No one has ever suggested that alternative energies, whether power (electricity, hot water/heating), or transportation are intended to completely replace conventional fossel fuelled energy sources.

      The real intention is to develop the alternative energy solutions to offset the global warming impact of conventional energies, reduce dependence on foreign (hostile) energy producers, and move into a new era of energy supplies.

      Big utilities and oi/gasl companies have been fighting this tooth and nail since the early ‘70s. Have you seen the recent “energy voter” adds on TV? That is a euphemism for big oil and gas.

    3. Your negativity is excessive, DavGreg, and I do not agree with your assessment at all. Renewable energy definitely has the potential to replace the majority of our energy needs, and the economics are favorable even with current technologies. Certainly there are applications in which liquid fueled vehicles will still be required or preferred for some time to come. But your blanket statement is inaccurate.

      As noted by others, there are many varieties of electric cars. While pure plug-in electrics may only address a small fraction of the market given the current state of battery technology, there are hybrid options which are quite attractive. Locomotives have been diesel-electric for decades for a reason.

      I am not sure why you are so negative with respect to renewable energy and electric vehicles, but you will be proven wrong over the next couple of decades.

      1. “Renewable energy definitely has the potential to replace the majority of our energy needs, and the economics are favorable even with current technologies.”

        If the population of the earth were about 10-20% of what it is now, then possibly.

      2. I am not negative about it. I own stock in Tesla, I am planning a home for vacation now and retirement later that will have Solar Power.
        My point was that yes electric cars and trains and trucks are possible, just not on the scale that we have become used to with fossil fuels.

        If you try to scale electric locomotion to the entire fleet you will see the expense and available materials do not add up. There is already a shortage of some Rare Earth Minerals and they would be needed in significant amounts in an all electric car.

        Electric Cars will continue to improve and grow in number, but will not ever be fielded in the numbers of Oil sourced fueled cars and trucks.

        There is an excellent book on the subject recently published titled “When The Trucks Stop Running” by Alice J. Friedemann. Despite the subject being trucks, the greater issue of energy for transport is discussed and she is expert in the issue.

        Relative to Apple, they may build a car and may build quite a few, but if they are all electric they will never replace the gas and diesel cars and trucks alone. Not enough material, storage, rare earth minerals for that many.

        The same is true for those thinking Wind and Solar will be the entire source for the grid. It is not sustainable.

  2. This could make a lot of sense.

    Most of you will know about the McLaren supercars, but it’s also worth remembering that McLaren have also been interested in the other end of the market too, with their innovative T25 city car which is electrically powered.

    The T25 car itself isn’t particularly appealing, but I would wager that the aspect that interests Apple is the iStream production process, which is far cheaper to produce and uses much less energy too. Factories can be built with a massively smaller investment than a conventional ‘bent metal’ car factory.

    When people have discussed exactly how Apple might build a car, I’ve often mentioned that I don’t think that existing manufacturers such as Magma would be likely to be doing the bodywork. I always felt that Apple would do something entirely different and the example that I had in mind was Gordon Murray and iStream.

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