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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.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

GM plans to end sales of gasoline powered cars by 2035

GM CEO Mary Barra at the GM Orion Assembly Plant plant for electric and self-driving vehicles in Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors is setting a worldwide target to end sales of gasoline and diesel powered cars, pickups and SUVs by 2035, the automaker said Thursday.

Why it matters: GM's plan marks one of the auto industry's most aggressive steps to transform their portfolio to electric models that currently represent a tiny fraction of overall sales.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
13 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Japan vows deeper emissions cuts ahead of White House summit

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan on Thursday said it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030, per the AP and other outlets.

Why it matters: The country is the world's fifth-largest largest carbon dioxide emitter and a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas.

45 mins ago - Technology

The global race to regulate AI

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Regulators in Europe and Washington are racing to figure out how to govern business' use of artificial intelligence while companies push to deploy the technology.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, the EU revealed a detailed proposal on how AI should be regulated, banning some uses outright and defining which uses of AI are deemed "high-risk."