- Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia have said they’re not in talks with Apple about developing an autonomous electric vehicle.
- Several reports said that Hyundai and its affiliate would manufacture an Apple Car whose design, hardware, and software would come from Apple.
- A related report said a few days ago that Apple is upset after Hyundai confirmed negotiations in early January and has paused negotiations.
In past weeks, several reports claimed that Apple was negotiating with Hyundai a deal for the Apple Car, with a contract seeming to be imminent. Apple would invest $3.6 billion into a Kia manufacturing line in Georgia that would mass-produce the Apple Car. Apple would control the hardware design and software, and the car would not be a repurposed Kia electric vehicle, those reports said. The self-driving electric Apple Car would launch in 2024 at the earliest, with a report claiming that it would be a fully autonomous car. But both Hyundai and its affiliate Kia just said that they aren’t in talks to Apple.
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Hyundai confirmed about a month ago the negotiations with Apple in a statement and then had to revise that comment twice to remove any indication of Apple’s interest in manufacturing its vehicle. A month later, Hyundai and Kia both say that they’re not in talks with Apple. The comments came in response to intense speculation surrounding what seemed to be an imminent partnership for Apple.
People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Apple paused negotiations weeks ago. Apple has been discussing plans with other auto industry players, the same people said, without disclosing any other brands.
Hyundai and Kia said in regulatory filings on Monday they were in talks with multiple companies about autonomous electric vehicles, but no decision had been made. Hyundai announced a new electric platform in early December which could be used for several vehicles in the future. The same chassis would be available to Apple. The E-GMP platform in the image above offers a range of 300 miles on a single charge and fast charging battery tech that offers 60 miles with a 5-minute charge and up to 80% of capacity in 18 minutes.
Bloomberg also notes that a report from Japan’s Nikkei said last week that Apple is talking to at least six automakers. Dow Jones noted Kia was approaching partners about a plan to assemble the Apple Car in Georgia.
A separate Bloomberg report said on Friday that the reason Apple paused talks with Hyundai and Kia is secrecy. Apple was reportedly upset by the early stories in January and Hyundai’s initial confirmation of the discussions. Apple’s insistence on keeping everything secret when it comes to the products it’s developing is well known. Many of Apple’s products leak ahead of their launch, but Apple still demands secrecy from its employees and partners.
Whether the talks with Hyundai will resume or not, the Apple Car rumor mill indicates that Apple has renewed interest in the car industry.