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Apple might still partner with Hyundai-Kia for its driverless electric car

Published Feb 26th, 2021 6:50AM EST
Apple Car Rumors
Image: YouTube

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  • A report from Korea claims that the Apple-Hyundai partnership for the Apple Car might still be in the cards, despite Hyundai’s recent denials.
  • Apple and Hyundai affiliate Kia have reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding last year, agreeing on cooperating in eight sectors, including electric vehicles.
  • Previous reports said a few weeks ago that Hyundai and Kia might mass-produce the Apple Car, with Apple developing the hardware and software for the driverless electric vehicle.

The Apple Car is the unreleased Apple product that made the most waves so far this year when it comes to rumors and leaks. It started late last year when a Reuters story said that Apple aims to launch its first driverless electric vehicle in 2024. The report claimed that while Apple is developing proprietary technologies for key aspects of the Apple Car, including the battery and the self-driving software, it wasn’t clear how Apple would produce the vehicle. Apple could try to create its own production lines, which would be a more laborious route or partner with an established carmaker.

Reports in the weeks that followed highlighted Hyundai as the likely partner for the project. Hyundai confirmed the deal in initial comments, only to deny any negotiations with Apple later. Hyundai affiliate Kia was also featured in the stories that followed, which said that Apple would make the Apple Car at a Kia facility in the US. Apple would make a considerable investment so that Kia could develop a production line dedicated to the Apple Car.

These rumors supposedly angered Apple, and the company backed away from the Hyundai-Kia deal, exploring other opportunities. But the Hyundai partnership isn’t exactly off the table.

A South Korea report on Friday said there was potential for Kia to ink a deal with Apple. Per Reuters, Kia stock rose by 8.1%. Previous Apple Car rumors have also sent Hyundai and Kia shares up.

According to Chosun Biz, Apple and Kia had already signed a memorandum of understanding last year. They supposedly agreed to work together in eight sectors, including electric vehicles. The report said that negotiations on electric cars had not been completely canceled.

“Even if the negotiations on electric vehicles fail, there are many items that can be negotiated in other fields, so we are still optimistic about the possibility of partnership between the two sides,” a person familiar with the negotiations between Hyundai and Apple told Chosun.

One other area of interest for Apple and Kia is the “last mile” mobility or the transport that would complete the final short distance to the destination after using a different transportation option. It’s unclear what that means at this time.

Previous reports said that Apple’s first car will be a driverless vehicle that would primarily target taxi-like services. None of this has been confirmed so far, as Apple keeps a tight lid on the products it’s developing.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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