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Apple may be about to invest $3.6 billion in Kia Motors to collaborate on its electric car project, the Apple Car.
The tech behemoth reportedly plans to ink a deal with the South Korean car manufacturer on February 17, according to news outlet DongA Ilbo (via Bloomberg), with plans to launch the Apple Car in 2024.
The report suggests Apple has set an initial target of producing 100,000 cars per year, which may later be expanded to 400,000 depending on commercial reception of the vehicle.
Kia not the only option
We had previously reported that the company was in talks with Hyundai Motors to produce the Apple Car, with a deal in “its early stages” but that “nothing [had] been decided.”
Hyundai later revised the statement, only confirming that it’s been in talks with different partners about building an autonomous electric vehicle.
It’s likely that the manufacturer was reluctant to become just another ODM (original design manufacturer) – in the same way Foxconn is to Apple and Tesla – with Apple taking the plaudits for the final product, although there’s been no word on an official reason for the halt in discussions between the two companies.
Kia, on the other hand (which is partially owned by Hyundai), is tipped to use the funds from the Apple deal to build exclusive facilities for the production and development of the Apple Car. Manufacturing is expected to take place in Kia’s Georgia, USA facility.
Details are few and far between on what exactly will differentiate the Apple Car from other EVs set for the mass market in the years to come, but comments made by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo may have revealed some possible specs for the vehicle.
Kuo suggests the Apple Car will have more than 300 miles of range on a full charge – putting it on a par with the Tesla Model 3 – and should get 60 miles of range from a five-minute top-up. It will apparently be capable of going from 0-60mph in less than 3.5 seconds, and have a top speed of 160mph.
Kuo did clarify that these specs refer to the supposed high-performance model – which itself indicates there’ll be a cheaper model – but they nonetheless confirm Apple’s commitment to delivering an EV capable of both performance and efficiency.
We also previously reported on an Apple patent which details a car window that can alter its transparency and tint, implying that users could vary the amount of tint or even visibility through the Apple Car’s windows from different sides – allowing passengers to see out, but be shielded from those looking in. Pretty neat.
But with Apple’s famous penchant for great tech notwithstanding, Kia – with its e-Niro and e-Soul crossovers earning plaudits for their value and all-round roadworthiness – seems a good fit to help the company in its first foray into the automotive industry.