Apple is nearing a deal with Hyundai Motor Group to build a self-driving electric vehicle of its own, CNBC’s Phil LeBeau and Meghan Reeder reported Wednesday, citing multiple sources familiar with the project.
If finalized, the EV would be Apple-branded and built at Kia’s assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, CNBC reported.
Sources told the outlet the deal wasn’t done yet and that Apple may decide to partner with another automaker, either instead of or in addition to Hyundai. The tech company is looking to build the car in North America and partner with a carmaker that will let it take the reins when it comes to software and hardware, sources said.
As for specifics about the car itself, one source told CNBC Apple’s cars wouldn’t be built to have a driver and that they’d be geared toward “the last mile,” indicating that the vehicles may be commercial in nature. Apple is eyeing 2024 for production, sources familiar with the Hyundai deal told CNBC, but it could be postponed.
Apple’s stock jumped more than 2% on the news in after-hours trading.
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Rumors have circulated for years that Apple plans to build an EV, and speculation has intensified in recent months.
In December, Reuters reported Apple planned to launch a self-driving EV as soon as 2024, citing unnamed sources familiar with the tech giant’s plans. Sources told the outlet the vehicle would not be a commercial vehicle or a self-driving taxi but a consumer vehicle. Instead of competing with robo-taxi firms like Waymo, Apple would more likely rival electric-car makers like Tesla and Rivian.
The vehicle would use Apple’s advanced battery technology, which has the potential to “radically” diminish charging time and increase range, one source told Reuters.
Hyundai declined to comment when reached by Insider. A spokesperson for Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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