According to newspaper DongA, Apple is set to announce a major contract with Kia Motors, worth about $3.6 billion as the company ramps up its efforts to build an electric car. According to the papers, the news could be officially announced as soon as February 17.
Apple is apparently looking to produce about 100,000 cars a year, starting in 2024. A previous report had suggested that Apple was looking to sign a deal with Hyundai by March.
The local media report was surfaced by Bloomberg today. It remains to be seen how close Apple and Kia’s partnership will be in the making of the Apple Car, or if it is more of a designer-supplier relationship a la Apple and Foxconn’s relationship in the iPhone supply chain.
The reports that Apple was building a car date back to 2015, when the first news broke of Project Titan, an Apple electric vehicle project. Initially, the company had thousands of engineers and designers working on all sorts of components like doors, drivetrains and steering wheels. However, Apple scaled back ambitions around 2017 to focus on the autonomous driving software stack only.
More recently though, many signs have indicated that Apple is once again committed to the ‘car’ part of the Apple Car. Apple has been poaching executives from Tesla, and recently hired away Porsche’s VP of chassis development. And in December, Reuters kickstarted the latest bout of Apple Car rumors by reporting that the Apple Car was headed for production in 2024 featuring ‘breakthrough battery technology’.