UPDATED 22:23 EDT / FEBRUARY 03 2021


Apple reportedly closing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to build the first ‘Apple Car’

Apple Inc. is reportedly closing in on a deal to make a fully autonomous vehicle with Hyundai Motor Group and its affiliate Kia Corp.

Reports of an Apple car, or iCar, go back to 2015, although it was first thought the vehicle would be semi-autonomous. Then in late 2019, it was reported that Apple had scaled down its ambitions to build its own car and instead was concentrating on creating software for self-driving vehicles as well as secretly developing a super-efficient battery for an electric car.

On Tuesday, reports that Apple was about to invest $3.6 billion in Kia to produce the Apple Car led to the South Korean company’s shares soaring. The report that the cars will be built at Kia’s Georgia facility was first written in South Korean media and later reported by the international media. Apple and Kia didn’t respond to any questions, but it seems possible the deal will happen.

The car will apparently be based on Hyundai’s E-GMP next-generation Battery Electric Vehicle platform. That could mean a potential of reaching 160 miles per hour and going from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds. A distance of 310 miles can be traveled on one charge, while if a compatible charging station can be found for the battery, an 18-minute charge would replenish 80% of the battery.

The South Korean media stated that the cars should be on the streets in 2024. The facility aims to produce 100,000 cars a year, which could go up to 400,000 cars a year when the facility reaches its full potential. It’s not exactly clear what role Hyundai will play other than owning a large chunk of Kia.

While all the companies involved haven’t spoken about this deal, this evening a report by CNBC stated that the arrangement was close to being finalized. That report says the car will indeed be fully-autonomous, although it will be a full Apple car, rather than Apple’s software in a Hyundai/Kia car.

Still, people familiar with the matter who talked to CNBC said Apple could also be looking for another automaker partner. “The first Apple Cars will not be designed to have a driver,” one source told CNBC. “These will be autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile.”

Photo: Contando Estrelas/Flickr

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