Apple has been working on electric-vehicle concepts for several years. The iPhone maker has now engaged in talks with Hyundai about cooperation on driverless, electric vehicles, according to media reports.
In statements to the press, the South Korean automaker offered no details and said that talks were still in preliminary stages.
In turn, the company’s remarks sent Hyundai’s shares soaring 24 percent early Friday (Jan. 8), The Wall Street Journal reported.
There has been keen interest in electric vehicle startups with the incredible market success of Elon Musk‘s Tesla, which has gone up to a valuation of more than $700 billion.
For its part, Apple talked to suppliers about possibly putting out its own car, potentially starting production as soon as 2024, a person familiar with the matter has said, per WSJ. The tech giant had shelved an earlier plan for its own car a few years ago to instead research driverless car technology, but reports last month suggested that the cash-rich device-maker was kicking its long-stalled car project into high gear.
Hyundai, in commenting on the talks with Apple, said that “nothing has been decided.” The WSJ noted that Hyundai, in a filing with Korean regulators, said it had fielded requests of potential cooperation on electric vehicles from multiple companies. Apple declined to comment.
Hyundai, with affiliate Kia Motors Corp., is one of the world’s largest automakers by sales.
Apple has ex-Tesla engineering chief Doug Field helping to lead its electric vehicle efforts. The WSJ said that Field had a key role in developing Tesla’s Model 3 compact car, which helped jumpstart the company’s sales and sparked hope that electric cars can go mainstream.
Tesla continues to enjoy record sales and long-sought (albeit narrow) profitability — and the electric and autonomous vehicle (EV/AV) segment is set to see more action and adaptation this year.