Long mentioned, Apple’s autonomous electric vehicle project has been the subject of all the rumors for a few weeks. Among the most concrete, that of a collaboration with an automotive specialist is gaining ground.
In January, South Korean media suggested that Apple was working with Hyundai to design its Apple Car. Some sources (including those of the Korea Economic TV channel) even specified that Apple and Hyundai were negotiating a collaboration for the manufacture of electric vehicles and batteries. Others mentioned a production in the state of Georgia, in the United States.
Ultimately, it is not. The South Korean manufacturer and its subsidiary Kia have denied these rumors. In documents regulating their activities, they declare “Do not discuss the development of an autonomous electric car with Apple”.
Apple Car: the Titan project kept secret
If Hyundai and Kia deny any collaboration, Apple remains faithful to its culture of secrecy and has neither confirmed nor denied these rumors.
Apple’s self-driving car project, known by the code name Titan, remains a great mystery to this day. Hyundai and Kia have admitted to discussing autonomous electric vehicle projects with several companies, but they never mentioned Apple. Not really surprising.
Electric vehicles: a booming market
The electric vehicle market is still in its infancy. If Tesla is among the pioneers, the giants of the automotive industry are investing more and more in this sector. Hyundai and Kia are already banking on this market (with the Ioniq and Kona Electric ranges), the growth prospects for which greatly exceed those of thermal vehicles. We better understand the rumors of a merger between the South Korean manufacturer and Apple.
In 2020, electric vehicles represent 10.5% of sales in Europe against barely 3% in 2019. Boosted by support policies, Germany and France are the two leading markets in the European Union. The first offers a bonus of 9,000 euros for any purchase of an electric or hybrid vehicle, the second up to 12,000 euros.
At the same time, the market for combustion vehicles is collapsing. Sales of gasoline-powered cars fell by 33.7% in 2020, those of diesel vehicles by 23%. While they still represent the largest share of new registrations, the trend is downward. But the arrival of new players like Apple could give additional impetus to the electric market.