Soonho Ahn who is Apple’s global battery development chief has moved to Volkswagen to lead the automaker’s development of electric vehicle batteries. This is the second time in recent months that an Apple executive has left for an automaker. Apple lost its head of car project, Doug Field, to Ford Motor in September.
This is according to Soonho Ahn’s updated LinkedIn profile. He left his role as Apple’s global battery development chief this month to become chief technology officer at the battery division of Volkswagen.
Ahn was a former executive at Samsung SDI’s next-generation batteries division before being hired by Apple in 2018 to head its global battery development unit. Apple uses batteries not only in its mobile phones and laptops but electric vehicles which are under development.
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Apple declined to comment while Ahn and Volkswagen did not have immediate comments. But when asked about whether Apple plans to develop batteries and screens in-house as it does for chips, Apple CEO Tim Cook said “I wouldn’t want to rule anything out”. He added that; “It’s important to have a clear path to doing something substantially better.”
Remember that Apple has an ongoing plan to develop electric cars by 2024 but one of the major challenges it has faced is the electric car battery development and supply. Apple talked with CATL and BYD in China over the planned battery supply for electric vehicles, saying it was almost deadlocked because the supplier refused to build a US factory for high-tech giants only.
Speculations on why Volkswagen is hiring the best brain for its battery development is that it has outlined an ambitious plan to build six battery factories across Europe with partners by the end of the decade, and most importantly, he wants to overtake Tesla as the world’s leader in electric vehicles.