Hyundai Motor said on Friday that it was in early talks with Apple, after a South Korean domestic broadcaster said the firms were discussing an electric car and battery tie-up. Shares of Hyundai Motor surged 25% following the news.
“We understand that Apple is in discussion with a variety of global automakers, including Hyundai Motor,” a Hyundai representative told CNBC. “As the discussion is at its early stage, nothing has been decided.” The statement followed a local report from the Korea Economic Daily that said Apple suggested the tie-up and Hyundai Motor was reviewing the terms.
In a regulatory filing issued later, the carmaker said it was “getting requests for cooperation on joint development of autonomous electric vehicles from various companies”, stopping short of naming Apple in the news release.
The announcement comes amid intense speculations about the widely-rumoured Apple Car. Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reported two weeks ago that the American tech giant is targetting a 2024 release for its own passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough self-driving and battery technology.
Apple tying up with a “traditional” carmaker like Hyundai could be the final hurdle for the Apple Car to become a reality. On one hand, Apple will not be required to pour in substantial investments to achieve an acceptable level of production capabilities (which, as seen with Tesla, is definitely not an easy task).
Meanwhile, Hyundai gets to benefit from a new business model in the form of production outsourcing that is rarely seen outside the technology industry.
Hyundai recently unveiled its grand strategy to charge forward with alternative fuel vehicles. The South Korean carmaker unveiled its Ioniq electric vehicle sub-brand in August, followed by HTwo in December 2020 which focuses solely on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
By 2025, the company aims to become the world’s third-largest automaker of eco-friendly vehicles, increasing its annual Battery-EV sales to 560,000 units. The Hyundai Motor Group (which includes also includes Kia and Genesis) as a whole aims to sell 1 million units of BEVs annually by 2025, which should represent a 10% market share to become a leader in the global EV field.