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Kia Apple Car rumor has now morphed into talk of an electric scooter

The Hyundai/Kia Apple Car rumor was once presented as if it were almost a done deal, before later being dismissed – but a Korean report today says some kind of deal is not entirely off the table.

It goes on to hint that a deal might be struck over the Kia electric scooter…

Reuters reports:

Shares in Kia Corp rose as much as 8.1% on Friday after a South Korean online news site said there was still potential for the automaker to form a partnership with Apple Inc […]

Online site Chosun Biz said on Friday that Apple and Kia had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last year and had agreed to pursue cooperation in eight sectors, including electric vehicles. It said negotiations on electric vehicles had not been completely cancelled […]

Kia and Apple are also discussing cooperation in “last mile” mobility, or transport to complete a final short distance to a destination after using another means of transportation, Chosun said.

The overall tone appears to be that while Hyundai/Kia may not make an electric car for Apple, the two companies are in discussion about “eight sectors,” so some kind of deal remains a possibility.

Analysts said the wording of Hyundai’s statement earlier this month, that it was not in discussions with Apple about developing “autonomous vehicles”, had left open possibilities of cooperation in other fields.

“The media report on Kia-Apple cooperation does not negate Hyundai’s statement earlier this month, since the statement was limited to a certain item,” said Kevin Yoo, an analyst at eBEST Investment & Securities.

The reference to last-mile mobility seems likely to relate to Kia’s electric scooter. The firm has concepts for embedding this into a slot in a car so that it is always charged and ready for use for completing a journey after parking the car. You can see this in the video below.

Hyundai first showed a finished prototype of the scooter at CES back in 2017, then went quiet on it before providing more details in 2019.

The small electric scooter folds up into something the size of a briefcase and mounts onto a Hyundai or Kia vehicle. According to the company, it is charged from electricity generated while driving. That’s presumably electricity generated while braking via regenerative braking, though the company is light on detailed tech specs.

As Hyundai describes the lightweight scooter: “Weighing around 7.7 kg (17 lb), the scooter is highly portable, while its unique and compact tri-folding design means it is lighter and more compact than any similar product. Enhancing its usability further, it features a digital display that shows battery status and speed; while, for nighttime riding, the new scooter is equipped with two stylishly curved front LED headlights, and two rear tail lamps.”

The Hyundai electric scooter features a rear wheel hub motor and is designed to travel at speeds up to 20 km/h (12 mph).

You can buy electric scooters for incredibly low prices these days, but one that sits in a slot in your car and is always charged would certainly be a very appealing feature in an electric car.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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