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Apple car: is there an iCar coming?

Will an Apple car come after all? According to media reports, a deal with the South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia is imminent. A market entry of the iPhone group with an iCar could accelerate the change in the industry.

  • Apple is to invest billions in Hyundai / Kia

  • Software is becoming more and more important in the car

  • Electric and autonomous - this is what an Apple car could look like

There has been speculation about an Apple car for years - but now more specific reports are piling up. A South Korean newspaper wrote Apple wants billions in the automaker soon Kia investin order to prepare the production of its electric vehicles for the year 2024 at its plant in the US state of Georgia. The Wall Street Journal reported that up to 100,000 cars should be built there in the first year. The US broadcaster CNBC followed up with the information that Apple cars should drive completely autonomously.

Apple car: 500 km range, 18 minutes charging time?

In the past few weeks there have been increasing indications that the iPhone company is looking to South Korea. It is officially said of Hyundai and Kia that they are currently not in talks with the US electronics giant Apple to build autonomous cars. The analyst Ming-chi Kuo, who is well networked in Apple's supply chain, wrote, however, that Hyundai's new electric car platform E-GMP should serve as the basis for the vehicle of the electronics giant. Hyundai provides one at E-GMP Range of up to 500 kilometers in prospect - and promises to be able to fill up 80 percent of the battery capacity within 18 minutes with a quick charge function.

CNBC also restricted the start of production later than 2024 could come, the negotiations with Hyundai-Kia are not yet completed - and instead or in addition other manufacturers could be involved. According to the Nikkei newspaper, there are also talks with Japanese car companies. Either way - these are the most detailed references to Apple's plans to date.

Apple wants to get involved in autonomous driving

In the meantime it seemed as if an "iCar" would remain a phantom. Apple CEO Tim Cook is said to have given the go-ahead for the development of an electric car in 2014. Suppliers have already seen prototypes - but then Apple shifted down a gear and initially focused on the development of Autonomous driving software.

The only irrefutable testimony to Apple's auto ambitions so far has been the SUVs converted into robot cars of the Toyota luxury brand Lexus, which are packed with sensors in Silicon Valley. More than 50 of these are registered with the California Department of Transportation.

Rumors have surfaced every now and then in the past few years. It was said that Apple wanted to buy the British sports car maker McLaren. Again and again the contract manufacturer was Magna as a likely production partner acted. Apple brought in experts from the electric car pioneer Tesla and established manufacturers. But the years passed without a car from the iPhone company.

Meanwhile it was Sony to the first electronics group to have its own in early 2019 Car prototypes introduced, developed together with Magna. Sony has not yet said anything about series production - but recent developments and ongoing road tests show that the Japanese are serious.

iCar: Software is the key to the future

At the same time, the entire industry is changing. Manufacturers called the era of "cars defined by software"From: A vehicle can be continuously improved through software updates and further developed with new functions. Tesla is already showing the way with its system updates, the rest of the industry is swiveling on the course. Industry experts have been seeing a conflict between automakers for years and tech companies like Apple and Google - one Competition for the interface to people in the car. People want to use their smartphone apps and services in their cars.

The manufacturers' strategy is to offer vehicle occupants their own world, from controlling the infotainment system to selecting apps and other services. They compete with systems like Apple's Carplay or Google's Android Auto, which allow users to Apps from your iPhone or Android phone on the big screen in the cockpit.

In the car of the future it’s about the Control over the interaction with the inmates not about prestige, but about money. "Access to the customer will determine who makes the service sales. And that will be a quarter of the industry's revenues in ten years," says industry expert Axel Schmidt from the management consultancy Accenture.

The Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty points out that Apple would only have to conquer two percent of the global mobility market in order to reach the volume of today's iPhone business with its car. Apple is good at to enlarge a market by entering it. "In our opinion, such a development could significantly expand the market for electric vehicles," said a recent analysis by the investment bank.

Hyundai founds its own electric brand

It does not seem unrealistic that the partner could be called Hyundai. Because the Koreans want to invest massively in e-mobility and a new one Sub-brand called Ioniq bring into being. The first model, the Ioniq 5, is already in the starting blocks. More will follow. Maybe the Apple car will be there too.

Text: dpa

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