A new CNBC report details that Apple is “close” to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to manufacture the Apple Car at Kia’s plant in West Point, Georgia.
Sources are also indicating that Apple could end up signing deals with other automakers as well for developing Apple Car.
One source familiar with Apple’s strategy on developing a car tells CNBC, “I doubt Hyundai is the only automaker they could strike a deal with, there could be somebody else.”
Apple Car is scheduled to go into production in 2024, though there is a possibility of the production being delayed. A source has also detailed that Apple’s first car will be designed in such a way so as to not operate with a driver. Instead, it will be an autonomous electric vehicle that will work without a driver.
“The first Apple Cars will not be designed to have a driver,” said one source with knowledge of the current plan. “These will be autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile.”
As for Hyundai-Kia partnering with Apple, the report states the automaker believes it will help accelerate the development of its own autonomous electric vehicle plans. Plus, Hyundai has the production capacity at its Kia factory in Georgia which Apple could tap into. Apple is reportedly going to invest $3.6 billion in Kia for Apple Car production as well.
The move is being led by Hyundai-Kia’s new chairman, Euisun Chung, who has made it clear that “mobility is the future of the company” and the carmaker will be working with Apple on exactly that.
At this point, it seems clear that Apple is set to partner with Hyundai-Kia for the Apple Car production. However, the vehicle itself is not going to enter into production before 2024 which could be further delayed due to various setbacks and development issues.[Via CNBC]