Apple has been teasing its interest in the growing autonomous electric vehicle segment since 2015. It really should too, because other American tech giants have already entered the party and that clearly is where next big billions are at. But who’s gonna make an Apple Car?
Hyundai-Kia say they’re not in discussions with Apple
Hyundai-Kia has been making into the headlines for the past few days when rumours of Apple trying to negotiate with the Korean top players to develop the much anticipated Apple Car. However, Bloomberg, today reported that the Hyundai-Kia has declined all such rumours.
Hyundai had earlier confirmed the fact that Apple was indeed in talks with multiple car brands for the Apple Car project including Hyundai itself. However, the carmaker swiftly changed its statements a few hours later stating “received requests for potential cooperation from various companies regarding development of autonomous EVs.” The halt in progress can be blamed on Hyundai’s statement, which affects Apple’s priorities of secrecy for its projects, in this case, the Apple Car.
Why Hyundai-Kia was a viable option for making the Apple Car?
Apple has been trying to get the Apple Car off its shelves and on the road for a long time now. The automotive industry is a highly precision-driven sector demands huge investments and more importantly experience to successfully get a product up and running. And this is exactly where Apple is seeking assistance. For a brand like Apple to hold up its aspirational value, it is of utmost importance that it gets everything just right before it certifies it ‘OK’. Hyundai-Kia is at the forefront of the list considering the Korean firm’s prowess in the industry to provide quality reliable products at lucrative value-for-money price points. Hyundai-Kia’s interest in alternative powertrains beyond simple internal combustion engine based powertrains and its involvement in developing and producing EVs strengthens its case. Hyundai-Kia currently produces pure EVs, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Hyundai has alternatively been working on the E-GMP platform. This new E-GMP platform would be a pure EV platform from the ground up unlike the other pure EVs in Hyundai’s current line up which are mere conversions of traditional gasoline/oil burner cars.
Hyundai unveiled the E-GMP platform on 2nd December 2020, which is Hyundai Motor Group’s first dedicated BEV platform. The platform is flexible in terms of components and technology that it can handle depending upon demands for different EV models in different segments. The E-GMP platform is capable of handling a dual motor set up with high-performance models clocking a 0-100kmph time of <3.5seconds and cracking a top speed of 260kmph. Hyundai claims to provide 500km of range on a full charge (WLTP) and fast charging of up to 80% in 18 minutes. Hyundai also claims to have the world’s first multi-charging (400V/800V) and bi-directional power conversion function called Integrated Power Electric. The platform is also rear-wheel-drive biased with possibilities of accommodating all-wheel drive making it highly capable.
Ming- Chi Kuo had earlier speculated Hyundai’s new platform to be the base for the proposed Apple Car. His predictions on the Apple Car were heavily based on the likeliness of the Apple Car being made off of the E-GMP platform that Hyundai would provide. He had also predicted a launch in 2025.
What could you expect from the Apple Car?
Expectations are undoubtedly huge for the Apple Car. But anticipations going beyond reality surely never make it out in the end. Let’s talk about what to expect from the Apple Car when it hits the road (if ever!):
- Design: The Apple Car designs making rounds on the internet depicting an Apple Magic Mouse with Mac Pro Wheels Kit photoshopped into it are for sure not the actual design. What we can expect is a fairly minimalistic approach while being futuristic in an understated manner, especially on the design front keeping it in line with Apple’s design ideology. Expect some neat tricks to make it that much more desirable than a comparable Tesla.
- Powertrain: Apple is likely to greatly depend on an automotive partner for the powertrain and mechanicals. What will do the job in the Apple Car might as well be part of the parent company’s own portfolio of vehicles. However, Apple might integrate some new technologies specific to the Apple Car to differentiate it from the parent company’s counterparts.
- Technology: With Tesla’s already bridging the gaps between automobiles and electronics, blurring the line between the two, cars have now moved on to be heavy on tech lately. Apple will surely use its superiority and experience in this field to pitch new technologies making it truly a one of kind experience. Autopilot features shall also rank high on Apple engineer’s priority list and very much essential if Apple wants to rival the likes of Tesla, which is already producing cars that are more tech products than a traditional automobile.
While renders show lounge like interiors with non-existent drivers cockpits the Apple Car might be not be devoid of steering wheels and mechanical controls at least regulations are not made clearer. Memes also suggest selling important mechanical components of a car separately, more so after Apple decided to drop the charger from iPhone 12’s box, but we doubt that would be the case. Or at least we hope it is not!
The Apple Car however is far from reality at the moment. It will still take a few years to elaborately go through the the R & D and achieve Apple’s desired level of finesse and ultimately get the car into production. We are looking at a release date of 2025 at the earliest.