Nearly seven years ago, in an effort to branch out beyond a maturing market for its flagship product, Apple began working on something quite different.
The iPhone maker tried its best to keep what was known as “Project Titan” under wraps, but anything involving the world’s most valuable company was bound to attract attention — particularly if it involved trying to make its own self-driving car.
Starting a car company from scratch, however, is famously difficult, even for a company with tens of billions in cash lying around. The initiative struggled through changes in direction and leadership, and shed hundreds of engineering jobs at the beginning of 2019.
But Apple insisted it remained committed to the project, and last month, sources familiar with the company’s plans told Reuters Apple now hopes to start making passenger cars with proprietary “breakthrough” battery technology by 2024.
This week, another report from a Korean publication provided details on how Apple plans to make it happen. According to the report, by March, Apple expects to sign a deal with Hyundai to make its cars. The initial version of the article, according to Reuters, indicated that the companies planned to make 100,000 vehicles per year either at the automaker’s existing Kia plant in Georgia or at a new factory — funded by both companies — in the U.S. Eventually, the operation would be able to accommodate 400,000 vehicles per year. The Korean publication, however, later removed those details.
Both companies played coy about the report, with Hyundai telling Reuters it’s had similar discussions with many companies. But the effort might not be secret for much longer: the report indicated Apple and Hyundai plan to release a “beta” version of the car next year.