The Cupertino-based tech giant Apple is reportedly nearing a deal with automakers Hyundai-Kia to produce a fully autonomous Apple-branded electric car, according to a report by CNBC.
CNBC reports that the “Apple Car” will be assembled at the KIA assembly plant in West Point, Georgia and the electric vehicle being developed by the company is tentatively scheduled to go into production by 2024, however, experts familiar with the talks between Apple and Hyundai-Kia say that the actual rollout of the vehicle could be pushed back.
According to South Korea’s online news outlet DongA.com, the tech giant is planning to invest $3.6 billion in Kia Motors as part of their collaboration to produce the company’s electric car.
The publication states that the deal would be signed on February 17 and Apple plans on producing 100,000 cars annually by 2024 at the Kia plant in Georgia while aiming to expand mentioned annual capicity to 400,000 at a later stage.
According to CNBC sources, this unique partnership will benefit both companies as they work together to develop the electric vehicle. This will allow Apple to enter the global auto and mobility market worth trillions while helping Hyundai-Kia to accelerate development of their own autonomous and electric vehicles.
The publication also states that the tech giant will have complete control over the Apple car, including the software and hardware that will go into the vehicle and while it is unclear what this EV will look like, CNBC sources say do mention some notable features.
“The first Apple Cars will not be designed to have a driver,” CNBC quoted their source. “These will be autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile.” it added while mentioning that the self-driving vehicles will initially be used for food delivery operations and firms incorporating robotaxis.
The iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch. Apple also lured Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked as Tesla’s senior VP of engineering back to the company to oversee the project in 2018.
It is pertinent to mention that Elon Musk said that he once attempted to start talks with Apple about acquiring Tesla, however, the Apple CEO Tim Cook rejected his invitation.