Hyundai has announced it is in early discussions with Apple to work together on self-driving electric cars.

The South Korean car firm’s share price rocketed more than 20% on Friday when the news was announced.

“Apple and Hyundai are in discussions but they are at an early stage and nothing has been decided,” it said in a statement.

Last month, news emerged that Apple was moving forward with self-driving car technology with a 2024 launch date.

The electric vehicle (EV) market is becoming increasingly competitive with companies like Tesla grabbing the headlines with its rapidly-increasing valuation. Its founder Elon Musk is now the richest man in the world, displacing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Experts say an electric vehicle from Apple is still at least five years away.

They say pandemic-related delays could push the start of production into 2025 or beyond.

Catching up

Hyundai has already been pushing into new technologies such as electric, driverless and flying cars.

Last month, it took a controlling stake in Boston Dynamics in a deal that valued the mobile robot firm at $1.1bn.

The company is also setting up a $4bn (£3bn) autonomous-driving joint venture with auto parts supplier Aptiv.

Both partners will invest $2bn, while Ireland-based Aptiv will contribute about 700 engineers and transfer patents and intellectual property to the venture.

Apple’s efforts to produce an electric car, known as Project Titan, have been on and off ever since plans were revealed in 2014.

There have been rumours over who would assemble an Apple-branded car as it may be difficult for the tech giant to manufacture them on its own.

Its rival Alphabet’s Waymo chose a factory in Detroit to mass produce its own self-driving cars.