Apple is reportedly planning to invest around three billion euros in electric vehicle production and to cooperate with the South Korean carmaker Kia. Rumours that Apple could cooperate with the Hyundai Group already existed in January.
The South Korean daily newspaper DongA Ilbo reported the news, however without naming sources. There is talk of about four trillion won in the article, which corresponds to about 3.6 billion dollars or the three billion euros. They also said that the Apple vehicles could be built at the Kia plant in the US state of Georgia from 2024. The initial plan is to produce 100,000 electric cars annually. Kia and Apple could sign a corresponding contract on 17 February.
Neither Kia representatives in Seoul nor Apple wanted to comment on the information to Bloomberg.
In December, there were rumours that Apple wanted to produce autonomous electric cars for the mass market from 2024. At the beginning of January, there were first indications of the Hyundai Group as a potential partner, however, according to the current information not with the core brand Hyundai, but instead with its sister Kia. In addition to the two car brands, the Hyundai conglomerate includes Hyundai-Mobis, a commercial vehicle division, several steelworks, and shipyards.
According to Bloomberg, however, Apple may not be in a hurry to partner for manufacturing. Citing “people with knowledge of the effort”, the agency writes that it will probably take Apple at least half a decade to get an autonomous electric car on the road – development at Apple is still at an early stage. So it remains to be seen whether anything will be announced on 17 February, as DongA Ilbo has learned.
Meanwhile, Apple has poached an important engineer for car development from a German OEM. According to the portal Business Insider, Manfred Harrer, long-time head of chassis development at Porsche, is to join Apple. Most recently responsible for the Cayenne series, the portal describes Harrer as “the measure of all things in his field”. The portal sees the appointment as a clear indication that Apple is developing its own chassis for the iCar, and will not build on Hyundai-Kia technology such as the new E-GMP.
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