“Apple and Hyundai are in discussions but they are at an early stage and nothing has been decided,” South Korea’s leading motor company Hyundai said early Friday in a statement just prior to news emerging that the company’s share price had shot up over 20% in early trading.
Whilst Apple has been looking into self-driven motoring tech for some time now, with a planned on-the-road date of 2024, the tie up with Hyundai has surprised many.
The interest in electric vehicles is growing across the world, however, with Tesla claiming more and more headlines, oftentimes unchallenged – a phenomenon that has now led to its founder, Elon Musk being labeled the world’s richest man.
And despite Apple’s intent, sources indicate the firm is still at least five years away from putting any serious self-driving vehicle on the roads.
As for Hyundai, recent purchases and joint ventures (JV) with a US based firm – Boston Dynamics in which the South Korean giant purchased a controlling stake – and a US$4 billion JV with a self-driving car parts maker in Ireland seem to have been missed by industry analysts.
As such, for now Apple may be seen as something of the junior partner in the Hyundai tie-up after making little progress in the six years since plans for an electric vehicle were first announced by the tech giant although some sources are pointing at a release date as early as late 2023, in limited markets, albeit also on a limited scale.
Time will tell.