Apple Inc. has been accused of poaching top engineers from Electric-car battery maker A123 Systems to develop a large-scale battery division, according to a recent court filing that suggests the tech giant may be developing an electric car.
“Apple is currently developing a large-scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts state court and was recently moved to federal court in Boston.
Apple is believed to be set on developing its own electric vehicle, and technologies such as the ones made by A123 Systems could be vital to push that project in the right direction.
The lawsuit also accuses five former A123 Systems employees of violating non-disclosure agreements for either going to work for Apple or planning on doing so. A non-disclosure agreement is a contract in which a party or parties commit to keep sensitive information confidential.
An automotive industry source said last week that Apple has been poaching engineers from Tesla Inc and been in talks with industry experts to learn how to produce its very own electric vehicle.
Bryan Chaffin, co-founder of Apple news site The Mac Observer, said that he knows “a lot of people at the top in Silicon Valley consider it a given that Apple is working on a car.”
The company seeks a court order for one of A123’s former employees to not break his employment agreement and order the defendants any confidential company documents.
“The lawsuit goes on indicate that it has information Apple targeted other companies with similar expertise in the battery business, including LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Johnson Controls.”
According to A123 Systems, it has produced more lithium-ion hybrid systems for transit buses than any other firm in the world.