Earlier this week, it was reported that Apple is nearing a deal with Hyundai-Kia worth around $3.6 billion to make its first electric car. Now, CNBC also reports – citing multiple sources familiar with the latest developments – that Apple is inching closer to inking a deal with Hyundai for its highly-anticipated EV project with plans of assembling it at Kia’s automobile facility in Georgia.
More importantly, sources cited in the report mention that the Apple Car will be a fully autonomous vehicle and is not designed with a driver in mind. “The first Apple Cars will not be designed to have a driver. These will be autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile,” a source privy to the matter was quoted as saying by CNBC. If proven correct, the Apple EV will go head-to-head with Tesla, which is also aggressively pushing towards the release of its own fully autonomous driving technology.
The Apple Car will reportedly make its debut in 2024, and as per reports coming out of South Korea, the company has initial plans of rolling out 100,000 Apple Car units annually, with a total production run of 400,000 cars planned. However, multiple sources and analysts – including Ming-Chi Kuo – suggest the debut of Apple’s electric car might be pushed back to 2025.
Regarding its partnership with Hyundai, Apple picked the South Korean automobile company for multiple reasons, one of them being its production facility in US, and the other one being its ability to scale up in order to accommodate Apple’s plans. Plus, Apple wanted a brand that could afford it a high level of control over both software and hardware aspects of the upcoming EV. The Apple Car will reportedly be based on Hyundai’s own E-GMP electric vehicle platform, which might be yet another reason for Apple to collaborate with the company.
However, there is a chance that Apple’s deal with Hyundai might not materialize. Or, Apple might also sign a deal with another carmaker in addition to Hyundai. Right now, it is too early to predict, with Apple being notoriously silent about its car project, and Hyundai has also not shared any official details about what’s cooking between the two companies either.