The maker of the iPhone within five years could be manufacturing autonomous electric cars in Georgia.
That’s according to an unverified report in CNBC, citing unnamed sources, that Apple Inc. is nearing a deal with Hyundai to produce the vehicles at its affiliated Kia plant in West Point as early as 2024.
The tech and computing giant has long been rumored to be conducting research on an “Apple Car” and has expressed interest in partnering with an established auto maker on manufacturing, focusing its efforts on software, design and branding.
The Korean auto makers share many suppliers nestled along Interstate 85 between Kia’s west Georgia factory in Hyundai’s Montgomery, Ala., plant. Both sister brands have had limited forays into the EV world thus far, though Hyundai announced in December a new EV platform that will power 23 electrics in the brand’s lineup by 2025.
Georgia is making a play to be a center for EV production across the value chain, especially since South Korea’s SK Innovation decided to put a $2.6 billion battery plant in Commerce, north of Athens. Suppliers have already started to line up for the SK plant, which counts Ford and Volkswagen among its prospective customers.
Bloomberg reported that Kia shares jumped as much as 14.2 percent Feb. 2 as a Korean newspaper reported, again without sources, that Apple was set to invest 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion) in Kia as part of their planned collaboration. CNN reported Feb. 3 that Kia closed up 9.7 percent.