Apple has allegedly wanted to build an electric car for years, but it’s been very secretive about its efforts.
Soon, however, there may be an announcement from Apple and its new partner: Hyundai.
Local newspaper Korea IT News reports the partnership deal will be signed by March and production of an autonomous electric vehicle will begin around 2024 in the US.
Reuters reports the Korea IT News story was scrubbed of details after being published.
The first published version reported Hyundai and Apple would build the cars at either subsidiary Kia Motors’ West Point factory in Georgia, where the Telluride, Sorento and K5 are built, or at a new factory the two companies would invest in and open together.
The proposed new plant would, once established, have an annual production capacity of 400,000 vehicles.
Korea IT News also reported Hyundai and Apple are planning to release a “beta version” of the Apple car next year.
Last Friday, Korea Economic Daily reported word from a Hyundai Motor official that multiple global automakers are in talks with Apple and that Hyundai itself was in early talks with the American tech giant.
This word from Hyundai led share prices to soar, finishing 19.4 per cent higher at the end of Friday’s trade.
Apple has yet to comment.
An earlier report said Apple is developing new lithium-ion battery technology to “radically” reduce battery cost and increase range.
The mooted “monocell” battery pack uses larger cells to free up space, and does away with the pouches and modules holding batteries in conventional electric vehicle lithium-ion units.
Apple’s existing LiDar sensors, used to aid the cameras and augmented reality functionality on the latest iPhones and iPads, could form the base of the car’s suite of semi-autonomous driver assistance features.
It’s not yet clear how Apple’s involvement will shape the finished product.
Hyundai’s new Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) seems a logical starting point.
The rear-wheel drive EV architecture supports batteries big enough for more than 500km of range, and supports motors that’ll propel it to 100km/h in less than 3.5 seconds.
Hyundai plans to introduce 23 battery-electric cars and sell 1 million examples by 2025.
E-GMP will underpin everything from sedans to high-riding crossovers and SUVs. The platform will debut in the Ioniq 5 SUV for Hyundai, set to touch down locally during 2021.
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