Apple is apparently going all in on its electric car ambitions. The Cupertino-based tech giant is reportedly planning to invest a sum of $3.6 billion in world-renowned automotive manufacturer Kia Motors in order to advance the development of the Apple Car.
As reported by South Korean online news outlet DongA Ilbo, the iPhone maker has plans to set up production with Kia and build Apple cars at the automaker’s facility in Georgia, USA.
The report said the deal would be signed on February 17. Apple will aim to produce 100,000 vehicles annually by 2024 at the Kia plant according to the report and aims to expand that annual capacity to 400,000 at a later stage.
Following the report, Kia Corp shares surged to their highest in over two decades. Apple’s funds will be used to build exclusive facilities for the production and development of Apple Car.
The iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple drew back the effort to focus on software and reassessed its goals. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla, returned to oversee the project in 2018 and laid off 190 people from the team in 2019.
Central to Apple’s strategy is a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range, according to a third person who has seen Apple’s battery design.
The car will reportedly have more than 300 miles of range on a full charge and should get 60 miles on a five-minute charge. It will also be able to go from 0-60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds and have a top speed of 160 mph, reported Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.