Would you buy a car from the same company that made your phone?
Rumors of an Apple "iCar" have circulated for some time now, though they're largely viewed as not credible--and now similar rumors might be directed toward Samsung.
The patent filings--submitted to both the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service--cover technology for electric motors, tires, and in-car electronics that relay information to the driver.
However, Samsung officials told the WSJ that the company has no plans to build electric cars; the patents will simply keep its options open. The company has reportedly been looking to expand beyond the competition-choked television and mobile-device markets.
Samsung files hundreds of technology patents on a regular basis, not always for products that make it into consumers' hands.
Samsung Galaxy Note II
In the automotive sphere, through, Samsung has already done more than file patents.
The company's battery division has been in talks with Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] to supply lithium-ion cells, augmenting current supplier (and Tesla investor) Panasonic. Persistent demand for the Model S has caused Tesla to seek a second supplier.
Samsung even started its own car division in the 1990s, but sold it to Renault in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
Now operating as Renault-Samsung Motors, the brand has sold an assortment of re-badged Renault and Nissan models over the years--like the QM5 crossover pictured above--but no longer has any connection to its namesake beyond the brand.
Samsung clearly enjoys toying with the idea of getting into the car business, but will it? And if it does, would you buy one of its electric cars?
Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.
[hat tip: Brian Henderson]
- Technology & Electronics