According to a new report from the Korea Economic Daily, Hyundai Motor Co is in early talks with Apple to produce new battery technology different from the kind used in the South Korean automaker’s new battery electric vehicle platform.
Reuters reported in December that Apple was moving forward with its self-driving car technology, aiming to produce a passenger vehicle as early as 2024. However, new reports from Bloomberg suggested that the car would not be released for at least another half a decade, possibly more.
Now, reports from Korea Economic Daily back up Bloombergs timeline saying Apple and Hyundai are in discussion to develop self-driving electric vehicles by 2027. In addition, the two companies are claimed to have plans to develop batteries at U.S. factories operated by either Hyundai or its affiliate, Kia Motors Corp.
A spokesperson for Hyundai later confirmed to CNBC that Apple and Hyundai have been in talks: “We understand 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,”
Apple is notoriously hush hush when it comes to new projects so other than the recent Reuters and Bloomberg reports, few details exist regarding Apple’s efforts to produce a self-driving electric car.
Some analysts believe Apple might be interested in using Hyundai’s electric car platform and facilities in order to cut costs. Analyst at eBEST Investment & Securities, Kevin Yoo, suggested that “Apple could see Hyundai as an ideal partner, because when it comes to legacy U.S. automakers, they all have strong union, which Apple would like to avoid.” Yoo added “Moreover, their (legacy U.S. automakers) labor cost is much higher than that of Hyundai, which often plays a big role when it comes to car production.”