Kuo: Apple Car to Use Hyundai's E-GMP Battery Electric Platform, General Motors Partnership Also Possible
Apple will collaborate with Hyundai on its first Apple Car model, and if things go well, Apple could work with General Motors and European manufacturer PSA for subsequent models or in other markets, according to noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
In his latest TF Securities investor note, seen by MacRumors, Kuo corroborates recent reports of a potential Apple Car partnership with Hyundai and says that he believes Apple's first vehicle chassis will be based on Hyundai's E-GMP battery electric vehicle (BEV) platform.
Announced in December, the E-GMP uses up to two motors, five-link rear suspension, an integrated drive axle, battery cells that can provide range over 500km on a full charge, and can be charged up to 80% within 18 minutes through high-speed charging. A high performance model based on E-GMP is capable of accelerating from 0-60 miles per hour in less than 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 160 miles per hour. Hyundai plans to sell 1 million BEV units worldwide by 2025.
Apple's deep collaboration with current automakers (Hyundai Group, GM, and PSA) who have extensive development, production, and qualification experience will significantly shorten the Apple Car development time and create a time-to- market advantage. We believe that Apple will leverage current automakers' resources and focus on self-driving hardware and software, semiconductors, battery-related technologies, form factor and internal space designs, innovative user experience, and the integration with Apple’s existing ecosystem.
According to Kuo's prediction, Hyundai Mobis will be in charge of design and production for some Apple Car components, and Hyundai Group affiliate Kia will provide the U.S. production line for Apple Cars, although Kuo predicts that Apple may struggle to launch the Apple Car in 2025 because of the more complicated development time and supply chain management involved.
We predict that Apple will launch the Apple Car in 2025 at the earliest. The new iPhone takes about 18–24 months from initial specification definition to mass production based on experience. Given the longer development time, higher validation requirements, more complicated supply chain management, and very different sales/after-sales service channels for the automobiles, we believe that Apple, which lacks car building experience, is already on a tight schedule if it wants to launch the Apple Car in 2025.
Kuo suggests Apple will market the vehicle as a "very high-end" model, or "significantly higher" than a standard electric vehicle, which will benefit the automaker partners. Foxconn, which is already developing electric vehicle parts, will not be involved in Apple Car assembly or casing orders, predicts Kuo.
Rumors that Apple is in negotiations with Hyundai about developing an Apple Car have been coming thick and fast over the last few weeks. Rumors that Apple is in negotiations with Hyundai first surfaced in early January. Hyundai initially confirmed its electric vehicle discussions with Apple, but then walked back the claims hours later.
The most recent Reuters report suggested the outlook for a deal had dimmed because Hyundai executives were "divided" over the prospect of working with Apple. Hyundai was said to have serious reservations about the prospect of becoming a contract manufacturer for another brand.
Reuters in December reported that Apple Car production may begin around 2024. However, a subsequent Bloomberg report said that the Apple Car is "nowhere near production stage" and could be ready in around five to seven years.