Apple’s renewed interest in producing an electric car took a fresh twist this week after a notable intervention from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Musk revealed on social media that during Tesla’s most challenging period in 2017, he reached out to Apple to discuss the firm purchasing the electric car maker. But Apple refused.
Fast forward a few years and Tesla is valued at $607bn (as of Wednesday 23 December) and is the world’s most valuable car maker (by a long margin), thanks to Tesla’s staggering share price rise during 2020.
To put that into context, rival car makers such as Toyota is only valued at $183 billion, and Volkswagen is valued at a mere $70 billion.
And Musk also recently overtook both Mark Zuckerberg, and then Microsoft’s Bill Gates, to become the second richest man in the world, after his net worth grew to $127.9bn, thanks to further rises in Tesla’s share price.
Apple meanwhile is currently valued at $2.2 trillion, and this week it was reported that its protracted and dormant electric car hopes (Project Titan), which had been expected to produce a passenger vehicle by 2019, will now produce a car by 2024.
It was also reported that Apple has a breakthrough in battery technology that it hopes to exploit, namely a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range.
But soon after this report emerged about a forthcoming Apple car, came an intervention by Elon Musk during an exchange on Twitter.
“During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value),” Musk tweeted.
“He refused to take the meeting,” Musk added.
The fact that Musk was exploring possible buyers for Tesla during that period should come as no surprise.
Last month Musk had revealed that during the period leading up to the launch of the Model 3 (in July 2017), finances at Tesla were under severe strain.
So much so that Musk admitted that Tesla came within “a month” of bankruptcy in the lead up to the mass production of the Model 3.
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