Tesla boss and co-founder Elon Musk says Apple is making an electric car ─ and that thousands of engineers are already working on the task.
When asked about the Apple Car, Musk said in an interview with the BBC: “I encourage more participation by whoever it is. It’s quite hard to do. But I think companies like Apple will probably make a compelling electric car. It seems like the obvious thing to do.”
Upon being asked the question again more directly, Musk added: “It’s pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it.”
He was then asked if Apple was serious about building an Apple Car, to which he replied: “Yes, I do. It’s an open secret.”
There have been plenty of rumours that claim Apple is looking to build a car, but this is the most concrete of them all, given that Musk is a silicon valley heavyweight who would almost certainly have connections in the right places.
But let’s try to remember he is the boss of Tesla, a company that specialises in all-electric cars. Is spilling the beans his way of helping build momentum and credibility for them or as a result of knowing the competition?
Adding fuel to the fire is the fact Apple recently trademarked a number of car-related website URLs, including apple.car and apple.auto.
There is, of course, the possibility the engineers are merely looking into the feasibility, but ‘thousand engineers’ would seem like overkill for merely testing the water.
Not only that, a few employees of Tesla staff are said to have gone to Apple and, more recently, budding Tesla rival Faraday Future, which unveiled an electric car platform at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Tesla offers the most potent all-electric car on the market and sales have been on the up, but the company is still running at a loss and is likely to do so while it pays for its GigaFactory, which is designed to reduce the price of lithium ion batteries and increase production.
It helps little that it only offers a luxury car and SUV, both of which cost too much to become mainstream. “Unless there’s an affordable car, we will only have a small impact on the world,” he acknowledged. Success, therefore, hinges heavily on its more affordable Model 3.
The cheapest Tesla Model S starts from £51,900, has a range of 260 miles and can hit 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds. You can read our first impressions of the dual motor P85D variant here.