Hyundai and Apple to form autonomous EV partnership
Meet the Hyundai iKar... iGuess?
Apple can be polarizing, with their aggressive marketing tactics and their blunt approach when it comes to developing new technologies but they're also undeniably successful, which is why I'm curious to find out how they fare in the automotive industry. Having rejected the opportunity to buy Tesla a few years ago, the tech company is reportedly teaming up with Hyundai to build autonomous and electric cars.
When rumours about a proposed partnership between these two companies surfaced a few weeks ago, the South Korean giant released two statements in close succession, which resulted in Hyundai shares soaring 20% in a matter of days.
In the first statement, Hyundai said that the company understands "that Apple is in discussion with a variety of global automakers, including Hyundai Motor. As the discussion is at its early stage, nothing has been decided". In the subsequent statement, they added: "We’ve been receiving requests of potential cooperation from diverse companies regarding development of autonomous driving EVs, but no decisions have been made as discussions are in early stage.”
Several reports by global media outlets confirm that the partnership may happen soon. According to Korea News IT, Hyundai and Apple will reach an agreement to join forces and build autonomous EVs starting from 2024. In fairness, said report does not provide any information and details about crucial elements of this partnership - such as the location where they're going to build the cars - but with the aim to produce at least 100,000 vehicles per year, the companies will either use the existing Kia Motors' facility in Georgia or build a new one. The goal is to build a few prototypes for beta testing as early as next year.
Apple could not, and would not, build ICEs but as cars are going electric, with a bunch of tech things to play with in the cockpit, they've decided to have a go and as always, other tech companies will probably follow suit. In fact, some already have. LG Electronics, the South Korean giant, is joining forces with Magna International, Canadian mobility technology company, to build e-Powertrains. Sony unveiled the Vision S a while ago and some people thought it was just a marketing stunt but it wasn't, they're actually testing the vehicle on the road as we speak.
I'll be honest, I'm not exactly enthused. I wouldn't want to drive an Apple car, while wearing an Apple watch with an Apple iPhone in my pocket. But the good news is I won't have to. Partly, because I don't own an Apple watch but chiefly because while it is entirely possible that one day we're only going to have EVs on the road, I'm certain that if, and that's a big if, it ever happens, it won't happen in the foreseeable future. Let's wait and see.