Jan 8, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Apple and Hyundai may team up on electric vehicles

A handshake emitting electrical sparks

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Hyundai is in preliminary talks with Apple about the tech giant's mysterious plan to develop self-driving electric cars, per reports in CNBC and Bloomberg.

Driving the news: "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," a Hyundai rep tells CNBC.

Why it matters: It's another sign that Apple, which first launched its auto tech program years ago, may indeed have products on the market later this decade.

  • And while the world is bursting with electric vehicle and autonomous driving startups, not to mention legacy automakers' plans, Apple's financial and engineering power would make it an important player.

Quick take: It shows how new entrants into the EV and self-driving space, even with insanely deep pockets like Apple, would benefit from working with established automakers to achieve launch velocity.

The intrigue: Hyundai, in a separate statement last night, declined to name-check Apple again.

  • “We’ve been receiving requests for potential cooperation from various companies regarding development of autonomous EVs. No decisions have been made as discussions are in early stage," the automaker said.

What they're saying: Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives sees a 35%–40% chance of Apple unveiling its own car by 2024.

  • He cited the mix of "Herculean-like auto production capabilities, battery technology ramp, financial model implications, and regulatory hurdles" involved.
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