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Hyundai Motor Group planning EV venture with Apple, papers say

(ATF)  Hyundai Motor and Apple plan to work together on autonomous electric vehicles, according to newspapers in Seoul. The companies plan to sign a partnership deal by March and start production around 2024 in the United States, Korea IT News reported on January 10.

News that the two conglomerates were looking at cooperating on electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries emerged on Friday, and sent the South Korean carmaker’s shares surging 24% to an eight-year high in trading.

“Apple is in negotiations with multiple global automakers,” Hyundai Motor told Korean Economic Daily in a statement. “Hyundai is one of them and we are in early stages of talks. [But] nothing has been decided.”

The South Korean company did not give details about the nature of the talks with Apple and did not mention whether the cooperation involved electric vehicles.

The company’s comments were in response to an earlier report by Korea Economic TV, which said that Apple approached Hyundai to propose cooperation in its efforts to develop an electric car as well as rechargeable batteries used in EVs.

Hyundai rose as much as 24% to 255,000 won in early trading in Seoul. As of noon, Hyundai was up 19.9% at 247,000 won.

Private car aspirations

Apple has eyed producing EVs since Tesla launched its Model S in 2008. Its Project Titan team was launched in 2014, but according to the UK magazine Car, has been a stop-start effort since. Last year, Car reported that an electric, autonomous car is planned for launch in 2024 with what’s described as “breakthrough” battery technology.

The iPhone manufacturer has sought to build a private EV for individuals, rather than an autonomous unit integrated into ride-hailing services. But Apple has yet to comment on this news.

“Apple’s goal of building a personal vehicle for the mass market contrasts with rivals such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, which has built robo-taxis to carry passengers for a driverless ride-hailing service,” Reuters reported in December 2020.

Chung Euisun, Hyundai Motor’s chairman, who took the helm of the automotive group in October last year, has said the company will actively push for new growth businesses focusing on EVs, hydrogen fuel-cell cars and future mobility platforms.

The two companies already work together on CarPlay, Apple’s software for connecting iPhones to vehicles. Korea Economic Daily TV said Apple and Hyundai Motor Group were expected to develop batteries at either Hyundai’s or its affiliate Kia Motors Corp’s factories in the US.

Samsung profit soars

Separately, South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics on Friday forecast that its quarterly operating profit rose by a quarter on booming demand for computer chips and electronic displays caused by the coronavirus pandemic boosting online activity.

Operating profit at the world’s biggest producer of memory chips, smartphones, flat panels was estimated at 9 trillion won ($8.2 billion) in the October-December quarter, up 25.7% from a year earlier. Samsung’s shares have risen 55% since September 2020 to a record high, with its market value now reaching nearly 500 trillion won.  

With reporting by Reuters


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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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