It’s certainly a big day for gossip and speculation about Apple cars, from serious market research to tongue-in-cheek theories about the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Sailing on these waves is a new report that Apple has made yet another big move that shows its chosen partner for this endeavour. While Hyundai has withdrawn its previous statements unsurprisingly, its affiliate Kia is now apparently in line, at least based on a single local news report.
Of course, it would be a great honour for each of the major carmakers, regardless of what name it would bear, to be picked as Apple’s partner for producing the electric vehicle. Latest rumours seem to favour that role for Hyundai but, after what seemed to be a slip of the tongue the South Korean carmaker made a U-turn about being in talks with Apple.
DongA Ilbo, the South Korean news portal, now reports that Apple has made a reasonably heavy investment in Hyundai’s Kia subsidiary to the tune of 4 trillion KRW, around $3.6 billion. In addition, Apple is allegedly setting up a manufacturing line in Georgia US, a deal to be inked on February 17. However, no other news source has reported this, but that didn’t stop Kia’s shares from suddenly jumping up.
However, whether it’s Kia or Hyundai itself, the last word is that Hyundai’s E-GMP, short for Electric-Global Modular Platform, will be used by the first Apple electric vehicle. Packaging the electric motor, transmission, and inverter in one, E-GMP will also be the basis for both carmakers’ EVs this year.
It will, of course, also take years for the first model to even see the light of day in public. In such a vehicle, there is still the issue of the exact role that Apple’s technology can play, given that it is not really in the business of manufacturing vehicles in the first place. Either way, the prestige that this partnership will bring will benefit Kia or Hyundai, particularly as EVs from the likes of Tesla become more common, at least in media coverage.