Apple and Hyundai-Kia are reportedly close to a deal to manufacture an Apple-branded electric vehicle in Georgia, which will reportedly be fully autonomous, featuring software and hardware that can be controlled by the tech giant.
Apple is close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to manufacture an Apple-branded autonomous electric vehicle at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, according to a report by CNBC.
A source told the news outlet that Hyundai Motor Group chairman Euisun Chung “has made it clear, mobility is the future of the company,” and that the so-called “Apple Car” will be fully autonomous.
The Apple Car is tentatively scheduled to go into production in 2024, although sources familiar with the project say that talks between Apple and Hyundai-Kia suggest the rollout could be pushed back.
While an agreement has not yet been reached between the two companies, it is believed that a deal is close to being finalized. Although sources say that there is a chance Apple could decide to partner with another automaker separately, or in addition to working with Hyundai.
“I doubt Hyundai is the only automaker they could strike a deal with, there could be somebody else,” one source told CNBC.
The report added that Apple could see major benefits from dabbling in the auto industry, as the global auto and mobility market is valued at $10 trillion.
“Smartphones are a $500bn annual TAM. Apple has about one-third of this market. The mobility market is $10 trillion. So Apple would only need a 2% share of this market to be the size of their iPhone business,” wrote Morgan Stanley analyst Katie Huberty.
Hyundai-Kia also believes that it stands to gain some benefits in working with Apple, too, as the company wants to accelerate the development of its own autonomous and electric and vehicle plans.
While it remains unclear what the first Apple Car will look like, sources familiar with the project detailed a few notable features.
“The first Apple Cars will not be designed to have a driver,” said one source. “These will be autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile.”