By Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL - Hyundai and Apple plan to sign a partnership deal on autonomous electric cars by March and start production around 2024 in the United States, local newspaper Korea IT News reported on Sunday.
The report follows a statement on Friday from Hyundai Motor that it was in early talks with Apple after another local media outlet said the companies aimed to launch a self-driving electric car in 2027, sending Hyundai shares up nearly 20%.
Hyundai Motor declined to comment on the report on Sunday, and reiterated Friday's comments that it has received requests for potential cooperation from various companies on developing autonomous EVs.
Apple had no immediate comment.
An updated version of the IT news report removed details, including production location and capacity and the time frame for signing the agreement and launching the pilot vehicles.
The previous version said the companies planned to build the cars at Kia Motors' factory in Georgia, or invest jointly in a new factory in the United States to produce 100 000 vehicles around 2024. The full annual capacity of the proposed plant would be 400 000 vehicles.
The report also said Hyundai and Apple planned to release a "beta version" of the Apple cars next year.
Reuters reported last month that Apple was moving forward with autonomous car technology and aimed to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology as early as 2024.