With each passing day, the mythical Apple Car becomes more real, and also slightly more confusing.
A new report from CNBC claims that Apple is close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia (the two companies are affiliated and Hyundai owns a big chunk of Kia) to produce an Apple-branded, autonomous electric vehicle.
We already knew that from previous reports, one of which claims Apple will invest $3.6 billion in Kia Motors to build the Apple Car in a new, dedicated production plant. The new report claims the Kia plant will be built in West Point, Georgia, with the car likely launching in 2024 (though it’s possible that the launch date could get pushed into the future).
The report also claims that this will be a true Apple Car, with Apple controlling both the software and the hardware components, instead of a Kia car with Apple software inside.
CNBC also shared some interesting new details about the nature of the upcoming car. According to one of the news outlet’s sources, the vehicle will “not be designed to have a driver.” Instead, it will be an electric, autonomous car that’s “focused on the last mile.”
That probably means the Apple Car — initially, at least — won’t be exactly what most of us have in mind when we think of a car: something to buy, own, and drive where you please. Instead, it could be incorporated into a fleet of robotaxis, or be used for package/food delivery.
This is also somewhat at odds with other rumored specs we’ve heard, which include a battery with 300 miles of range on a full charge, a 0-60mph speed in less than 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 160mph. A car designed to deliver food or be a part of a robotaxi fleet certainly wouldn’t need such specifications.