When it hits production, the Apple Car could be realized in partnership with Hyundai Motor as the latest reports suggested that the two companies are joining forces to assemble a vehicle with autonomous driving as among its smart features. If the plan moves ahead, the start of manufacturing activities is targeted around 2024.
Apple working with the South Korean firm was first reported Friday last week with Hyundai sending out a statement that claimed initial discussions with the U.S. tech giant on possible collaboration are now underway. The press release was immediately picked up by local media and some details were subsequently leaked out.
It was claimed that the Apple-Hyundai partnership aims to produce a smart car beginning in the next few years. And there is a chance that a concept vehicle could be unveiled as soon as 2021.
Basing on this beta car, the joint venture will initially manufacture 100,000 units of the smart vehicle in 2024. Likewise, it was understood that the optimal production capacity of the project was set at 400,000 units per year and Kia Motors, an affiliate of Hyundai, will take charge of the manufacturing duties.
The assembly is tipped to take place in Georgia where Kia has an existing facility.
However, all these details were surprisingly omitted from the updated media reports in Korea and Reuters said both Apple and Hyundai have elected to keep their silence on the matter. And the sudden retreat came as Hyundai saw its shares surged by 20% in reaction to the news that an Apple Car could be built by the Asian company as early as 2027.
The latest development is in line with the earlier reports that Apple is gaining steam on the efforts to produce a self-driving vehicle and the project could start rolling between 2024 and 2025. Also, a door was left open on the likelihood that Apple will tap the expertise of an established automaker to fast-track the realization of the program dubbed Project Titan.
This same Apple Car is deemed to be the strongest rival to current industry leader Tesla and the smart vehicle is expected to impress with its self-driving system and "breakthrough battery technology."
Apple reportedly working with a partner to accelerate Project Titan is not entirely surprising. The move, according to MacRumors, will cut down on cost since a manufacturing facility will be made available for the undertaking. So with fewer concerns, Apple can focus on the software side of the Apple Car, which analysts said is the smart vehicle's main selling point.
Also, the timeline mentioned in the latest reports syncs with the recent Bloomberg report that indicated Apple's smart car would only be ready around five to seven years from now. The project is surely ongoing but is "nowhere near the production stage," added the publication.