Tesla CEO Elon Musk Confirms That Apple Will Make A Compelling Electric Car

1 year ago by Mark Kane 60



Elon Musk weighed words answering questions in a BBC interview on the approaching competition from Apple in electric cars.

“Elon Musk, has said it is an “open secret” that Apple is making a rival electric car.”

“Apple has not formally announced it is working on a vehicle, although it did recently register several automobile-related internet domains, including apple.car and apple.auto.

Mr Musk said it was “obvious” that the company would try to make a compelling car of its own.

“It’s pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it,” he said.”

Musk noted that signs of Apple’s project are engineers, disappearing from Tesla from time to time – that are hired by Apple or Faraday Future.

Time will tell whether Apple will compete with Tesla or will be more like a new player that expands the market, like Musk sees it.

“But he did not see the iPhone-maker as a threat.

“It will expand the industry,” he said.”

The other important topics were autonomous cars, which should eventually eliminate models that can’t drive themselves, according to Tesla CEO.

For more, check out the BBC article or the video below:

Elon Musk has nightmares about A.I. (2016.1.11)

In the second part of this interview, Elon Musk talks about Artificial Intelligence and the deep concerns its causing him. But first he talks about Tesla building an affordable car, Apple’ rumoured electric vehicle and the future of autonomous driving.

00:00. Tesla
02:35. Model 3 & affordable EV
05:40. Competition
08:32. Apple building an EV
09:50. Autonomous driving
11:05. Artificial Intelligence concerns
14:40. State of his 3 businesses
16:15. Being wrong”

Source: BBC

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60 responses to "Tesla CEO Elon Musk Confirms That Apple Will Make A Compelling Electric Car"

  1. Joshua Burstyn says:

    How long before Tesla announces the Model 3 *is* the fabled Apple car and that they’re partners? Might be interesting. 🙂

    1. Anon says:

      If Apple hardware has left a singular quality impressed upon me– it is not the affordability of their products or services.

      1. Someone out there says:

        And you would only be allowed to drive to specific Apple-selected destinations.

        1. GSP says:

          Using only Apple-specific (super)charging stations. ?


          1. Aaron says:

            Wow. You guys are old. Still resurrecting “Apple doesn’t work with xxxxx” which hasn’t been true since the very early PowerPC days? 😉

            While Apple isn’t necessarily affordable (for you little people!), its integration of hardware and software allows it to work better with fewer glitches. When talking about autonomous vehicles, fewer glitches is a GOOD thing!

            Take Android phones. Samsung, for example, puts some SERIOUS power into their phones, including an 8-core CPU. Yet the iPhone 6S, with its 2-core CPU, handily beats that phone. How is this possible? Tight integration of hardware and software.

            1. Open-Mind says:

              LOL … well said! I think Prince wrote a song about this…

              “Tonight I’m gonna program like it’s 1999!”

            2. V2 says:

              Apple products still require specific hardware (such as when one wants to replace storage in their computer with an SSD) or it disables crucial functions. So they are in my book a closed platform still.

              1. Open-Mind says:

                Limited SSD options? There must be special web sites that specialize in such misinformation … EVs catch on fire, Macs are closed, etc.

                A quick google search will reveal a zillion SSD upgrade options for Macs. Though the upgrade process can be quite difficult (depending on model), so one may want to have a tech do it.

                Apple PCs are high quality hardware (thus a bit pricey), but less troublesome and more of an investment than a typical PC. For example, my 2011 iMac still runs Apple’s latest OS and software just fine. My OS upgrades have all been free and trouble-free, I don’t need anti-virus software, I’ve never needed to de-frag the drive, and I’ve never had to “rebuild my PC” because it kept getting slower. It even runs Microsoft Windows just fine, although I don’t use it much.

                1. Sting777 says:

                  There is malware now targeted the Mac OS, Apple is sometimes slow to respond to these attacks.

                  I would not, and I do not run a Mac without Antivirus. I run Bitdefender. But, there may be a better product out there.

                  Bitdefender also includes “web protection” to stop malware being downloaded from known compromised sites.

                  Also, It kills windows virus’s you might receive in your email, so that you don’t pass them along.

      2. Dan says:

        The affordability issue. Nope, no synergy with the Tesla approach at all. lol! 🙂

    2. RexxSee says:


  2. ffbj says:

    I think Elon would do a great: “Open the pod bay doors please, Hal.”

    1. Anon says:

      And his Model III AI would say, “l’m sorry Elon. But I can’t let you do that…”

      1. AlphaEdge says:

        He would have to crawl through the frunk, and disable the AI.

        1. Delta says:

          Thanks for that LOL

  3. PVH says:

    It is indeed weird he is speaking so much about it lately.

    1. Anon says:

      He’s recently spent a good chunk of change, investing in an AI company whose goal is to block bad AI’s with good ones that are designed to help humanity.

      I find that tactic logical, yet deeply disturbing…

      1. PVH says:

        Well, so many people (including me) would be bored to death if their only goal in life was to become richer (by the way, becoming richer to buy himself what ? a bigger yacht ? he would have no time to spent on it anyway). So it is very logical for him to find exciting ways to use his extra cash on such projects. I wouldn’t be surprised that he is already bored with Tesla. After all, the coming issues of the Bolt/Leaf2/improved I3/Ioniq means more or less mission accomplished for him (car electrification). There are so many areas where is intelligence is much more needed now.

        1. GSP says:

          He is not done yet. Not until all transport except rockets is electrified.


          1. Priusmaniac says:

            Why except rockets?
            That’s like telling except ice cars prior to the Prius.

            Slowly the first stage of rockets is going to become hybrid with electrofans that pull on the atmosphere at least up to 15 Km of altitude and 1000 Km/h. Further, with no air, the rocket continue on his own, but by doing so you already have an hybrid.
            Then again once you are higher in altitude the next stage become a vasimir XXL engine. So you are again more electric.
            Over time the rocket interstage between the boost electrofan stage and the XXL Vasimir stage will become smaller and the hole system will evolve towards more and more electrified propulsion with less and less propergols in the middle rocket section.

            1. Someone out there says:

              Yes, we really need a space elevator before we can do any serious space exploration.

              1. Priusmaniac says:

                A space elevator has a cost and sensitivity to sattelite collision problem.
                I know lots of people like that concept but I don’t think it is very realistic.

                On the other hand launching from the top of Chimborazo would give two benefits, a 15% increase in payload and a strong reduction in dynamic drag which would allow hydrogen to become advantageous again because of the higher ISP. These two effects combined would also make SSTO way more easy.

            2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              Priusmaniac said:

              “Slowly the first stage of rockets is going to become hybrid with electrofans that pull on the atmosphere at least up to 15 Km of altitude and 1000 Km/h.”

              Only if it takes off like an airplane, using wings for lift. And even then, it would only provide maybe, at maximum, 10% of the delta-V needed to achieve orbit; far less than needed for the booster stage of a rocketship.

              The rocket equation requires pretty strong thrust, Priusmaniac. Try playing around with it sometime, and you’ll see why what you suggest isn’t possible; you’ll also see why various attempts at a SSTO (Single Stage To Orbit) rocketship have failed. The rocket equation pretty well restricts us to using multi-stage rockets to put any significant payload into orbit.

              Yeah, a Space Elevator would be wonderful, but don’t hold your breath for seeing that in our lifetimes.

              1. Priusmaniac says:

                Using a plane for launch is a possibility but that brings problems with having the plane in the first place as well as an airport.
                I was actually more thinking of creating a Falcon 9 augmented by strap on fan pods. Those pods would lift the rocket from the ground up to 15000 m, where they would separate and come back on the ground for reuse.
                In order to have a stable pod when landing back, it would have at least 4 fans or more. To make the system hybrid the fans would be electrofans with the battery necessary for about 60 second of full power lift. This mean a special battery with very high power to weight achieved by increasing electrode surface at the cost of electrode thickness.
                In order to gain experience, the first fans would be conventional turbofans like the GE90 running on kerosene stored in the pod itself.
                A GE90-115B has a thrust of 513 KN for a weight of 8,283 kg. That is a thrust to weight ratio of 6 with in more a specific impulse 10 times higher than a Merlin engine.
                The net vertical thrust per GE90-115B would be 431743 N, so four would give 1726972 N (176 tons). The pod and the fuel for 60 second full power operation would add 5000 Kg.
                With four pods the net thrust would be 684 tons which is above the weight of the Falcon 9 at 541 tons.
                The result on the Falcon 9 would be like having the rocket being ignited at 15 Km of altitude with even some minor speed to start with.
                Starting at that altitude means that the aerodynamic drag is going to be much lower on the rocket and that the Qmax is going to be lower as well. The gain on the falcon 9 would start modest but over time with improving systems and the use of adpated lower pressure engines on the rocket it would increase.

    2. Nom de Plume says:

      It’s not weird for him to speak about it if he’s being asked about it.

  4. jerryd says:

    Hopefully they will be smart and make it a well designed all composite body/chassis saving 40% of the weight, battery, cost vs a metal one

  5. Someone out there says:

    Another interesting question would be if the Hyperloop will replace flying? It would be kind of difficult to get to Australia with a Hyperloop, however if it does kill off most of the short to medium range flights, tickets for long distance flights might become very expensive.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Building a practical Hyperloop will be quite an engineering challenge. Laying an operational Hyperloop tube across the bottom of the ocean would be even more so!

      For a fictional treatment of a similar undersea “railroad”, see Harry Harrison’s A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!

      1. martinwinlow says:

        Under-sea is always tricky and whilst the pods themselves (and all the control apparatus) will be technically challenging, building what is essentially simply a hollow tube, probably elevated above an existing highway, seems to me to be a comparatively very simple engineering task. I envision a huge machine straddling both sides of a highway, capable of making its way over intersecting bridges, ‘laying’ the hyperloop tube(s) as it crawls along at imperceptible speed. It would thus allow the hyperloop to be built but also allowing traffic flow to be maintained below – albeit maybe with one or more lanes obstructed, temporarily. MW

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Laying what amounts to a large diameter pipe, in sections, is certainly no engineering challenge; we do it all the time with large scale drainage pipes.

          But the Hyperloop must maintain low air pressure inside the tube, which means an airtight seal between each joint, yet the system must allow for expansion and contraction due to the outside temperature rising and falling, both daily temperature swings and yearly ones. Maintaining that low pressure continuously, over a tube running for hundreds or thousands of miles, will be an engineering challenge.

      2. Priusmaniac says:

        Well actually not at the bottom of the ocean but rather in midwater as a floating tunnel pulled upward by the Archimedes force and downward by cables attached to the bottom. In some modern versions there are no cables at all but just dynamic positioning systems and an overall neutral buoyancy like a submarine.
        In the most extreme scenario when you accelerate with a maglev at 28000 Km/h your speed exactly compensate gravity so you become weightless like on the ISS. If you tilt the maglev upside down you can further accelerate to 56000 Km/h and gain back a normal gravity feeling but this time upside down. At that speed you are from LA to Sydney in 15 minutes rounded to 30 minutes to account for acceleration and deceleration phases. There is one big catch though, the speed is so high that the alignment of the tube must be close to perfect which is extremely hard and effectively almost impossible to achieve.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Priusmaniac said:

          “Well actually not at the bottom of the ocean but rather in midwater as a floating tunnel pulled upward by the Archimedes force and downward by cables attached to the bottom.”

          Interesting idea, thanks. That would certainly make it a much easier engineering challenge, as the water pressure would be much, much lower. You’d only need to get it down far enough to escape the effect of storms on the surface, and if I understand what I’ve read about submarines, that is surprisingly only a very few hundred feet.

          “In some modern versions there are no cables at all but just dynamic positioning systems and an overall neutral buoyancy like a submarine.”

          Now that is simply a non-starter. With the tube anchored only at its endpoints, the sideways pressure of ocean currents along the entire length would put more strain, more sheer force, on the ends of the tube than any material could possibly resist. You could build it that way in relatively short spans, like a bridge; but certainly not for hundreds or thousands of miles.

          Anchoring cables attached to the sea floor, at regular points along the length of the tube, would be a necessity, not a luxury.

          “In the most extreme scenario when you accelerate with a maglev at 28000 Km/h your speed exactly compensate gravity so you become weightless like on the ISS.”

          Hyperloop doesn’t use maglev. It’s a lower-tech solution. Maglev requires cryogenic cooling, which is too expensive with current tech to support long-distance travel. Hyperloop uses an “air ski” support system to hold up the capsules, operating like an air hockey table; travel is restricted to subsonic speeds.

    2. TomArt says:

      As I understood it, the purpose of the hyperloop was to enable more efficient intercity travel – reducing any need for long drives and particularly for eliminating short flights. It would be quite useful, since air traffic is a nightmare, at least here in the US.

  6. David Murray says:

    I have a feeling that with Tesla, Apple, and Faraday Future investing so heavily in these products, some auto makers are going to find themselves being the next Kodak. GM, BMW, and Nissan are the only traditional companies that really seem to be prepared for the inevitable future of EVs.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Yes, it’s inevitable that some of the current market leaders won’t survive the coming disruptive tech revolution. There is always some turnover of companies when that happens. Some will go the way of the Stanley Motor Carriage Co., makers of the formerly best-selling Stanley Steamer.

      Right now, Toyota doesn’t look like a good long term investment. Really, the Mirai rather than a BEV or long-range PHEV?

      1. Stimpy says:

        It’s a bit early but if I had to be today I’d be betting against Toyota simply because they seem to stick their heads further into the ground with each new decision.

        1. Stimpy says:

          *had to bet

    2. Someone out there says:

      Agreed. GM seems to be on the ball, Ford not so much even if they are trying. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles does not look good. While Toyota pretend to not like EVs I think they are big enough to recover the losses with their fuel cell experiments and produce good EVs in due time. They will come their senses eventually.

  7. jmac says:

    Will Apple be the company that finally builds the first electric Model T ? Or an affordable “people’s car” for everybody like the Volkswagen Beetle ?

    Simply put, can Apple make an affordable mass-market vehicle ? Even if they have the Chinese manufacture it ?

    Based on past experience and familiarity with Apple, I doubt they have any serious intention of making an affordable EV but instead will most likely produce an electric car that fits in with their current corporate culture and the Steve Jobs mythos.

    The Apple Electric Car will be expensive just like everything else from Apple, and will, no doubt, be unaffordable to the masses who will end up driving PC versions of some future electric car that is only dreamed of at present.

    The Apple engineers will likely advance EV technology and further integrate computers into the driving process, but I wouldn’t look for a mass market vehicle.

    Tesla has already produced a compelling sports sedan in the Model S that competes and outdoes ICE heads up. Just what does the Apple Car hope to accomplish that hasn’t already been done by Musk and Company ?

    One thing for sure, any thing coming from Apple ain’t gonna be cheap.

    1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      They will make what they always make – something of relatively good quality, with a lot of attention to design, user interface and software – that many companies tend to neglect. It will be grossly overhyped and overpriced of course. Something similar to Tesla, but with less emphasis on wannabe racer gimmicks and more emphasis on style and fluent driver-car interface.

      If you are looking for mass market electric car, look no further than GM or Nissan.

      1. TomArt says:

        Agreed, Z’ – it’ll be innovative with above-average quality and priced accordingly.

    2. Mutwin Kraus says:

      Apple is actually a great model for making an affordable mass-market EV. The iPhone for example is not expensive at all considering where it started and the rapid improvements over the years and they scaled production from 500k/year to almost 250million/year. If that’s not mass-market then I don’t know what is.

      Apple also has enormous amounts of money, unlike Tesla. They could build multiple Gigafactories without anyone noticing in their quarterly results.

      Apple uses China to manufacture and assemble their devices. However the cheap labor (which is not that cheap compared to other places in the world) is only a small factor. The supply chains for smartphones and PCs are almost entirely in Asia and tens of thousands of devices can be shipped by plane to practically anywhere in the world. This is not the case with the car industry. I would expect Apple to use multiple manufacturing plants in different regions, but it’s possible, as rumored, that they will use Magna Steyr (the Foxconn of car factories) for the initial production.

      I would bet that the first Apple Car will be at least 5 times more affordable than the first Tesla car (Roadster). I would also expect Apple to use modern materials like carbon fibres.

      But of course it’s cool to hate Apple for reasons that have not been true for at least 10 years. Apple does not sell low-cost products, but all their products are not significantly more expensive than similar competing products while they have a healthy margin.

      1. mr. M says:

        More affordable than the Tesla Roadster (available for 109k$)? Great, so Apple will build a nice looking, best in class UI car for around 80k$. Thats nothing to be amazed about.

        1. mr. M says:

          Sorry i read that 5 times more affordable only now. That would lead to a base price of 22k$.

          If you look at the laptop market the average price hovers between 700$ and 1000$ (sources: http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/the-average-pc-laptop-cost-507-in-march, http://laptops.specout.com/app-question/462/What-is-the-average-price-of-a-new-laptop). The MacBook is available for 1200$. That is 1.2-1.7 times the average price.

          Apply that to the car industry with a average price of 35k$, the Apple car will be in a range between 42k$-60k$. This seems more reasonable to me. The Bolt is ~37k$ (pre incentive), making the Apple car between 5k$-23k$ more expensive. Which seems reasonable regarding the market perception of Apple and GM.

        2. Mutwin Kraus says:

          I don’t think the Roadster launched at that price, but I may be mistaken. I had something like $140k in mind, but that may have been the more expensive version of it. I also don’t think the comparison between laptop prices makes much sense here, but we’ll see.

          Either way, my point was that unlike all other EV startups/newcomers (Rimac, FF, Aptera, Detroit Motors, …) Apple does not need to follow Tesla’s business plan of starting with a very expensive sports car to finance the path to large-scale mass production. They also have no legacy ICE business that would be cannibalized. Pricing will be much closer to Bolt/Model 3, if not cheaper if they build a smaller car or smaller model. Also keep in mind that it’s rumoured to launch in 2019/2020. I expect the battery cost to be lower than today or when Bolt or M3 launch so that will be less of a factor in the total cost of the finished car.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            It’s amazing how many people have the fantasy that cars can be built like iPhones, or other consumer electronics.

            Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, the actual founders of Tesla Motors, had that fantasy too. “We can build cars the way Silicon Valley builds computers.” It was a long hard learning curve, with many lessons from bitter experience, for them to learn otherwise. Tesla had to hire executives with actual experience in actual automobile manufacturing, experience building actual cars, before they finally got a Tesla car into production.

            Hopefully Apple won’t try to go down the same primrose path, but if they do, then they’ll have to learn the hard way also.

            iPhones are the product of light industry. Cars are the product of heavy industry. You can’t handwave away the very large differences there.

      2. Someone out there says:

        You can’t compare it to the Tesla Roadster, the EV market was almost completely unexplored when Tesla did the Roadster, batteries were hard to come by and much more expensive than today and there were no quick charging stations anywhere. Nobody believed in electric cars back then, not so today.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Yes, but that doesn’t mean that somehow there is an easy path to building cars that avoids having to have a large automobile assembly plant somewhere. Even if you make all the sub-assemblies in other Asian countries (avoiding China, with its extreme quality control problems), there still has to be some huge heavy industry factory somewhere to put it all together. And that factory has to be run by people who are properly trained to assemble cars. Taking iPhone assembly workers and supervisors, and transferring them to auto assembly… simply isn’t going to work.

          If Apple is serious about making cars, then we’ll know years in advance, because they’ll have to build a large auto assembly plant, or buy one and convert it to their needs. They can no more hide that than they could hide hiring thousands of employees to work on the “Titan” EV project… whatever that actually turns out to be.

          1. Someone out there says:

            If Tesla can do all that I don’t see how Apple could fail with 100x more resources and previous experience in manufacturing.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Mutwin Kraus said:

        “Apple is actually a great model for making an affordable mass-market EV. The iPhone for example is not expensive at all considering where it started and the rapid improvements over the years and they scaled production from 500k/year to almost 250million/year. If that’s not mass-market then I don’t know what is.”

        Wow. Several post-ers here need a pretty strong reality check regarding Apple, and this is a great example of that.

        I can buy an unlocked (non-subsidized) smart phone at Amazon.com for as little as $60. The average price for an iPhone is ~$600. Now, if Apple really does decide to enter the new car market, I have no doubt they’ll sell something very nice. It will also be quite upscale, more in the price range of a high-end BMW or Mercedes, or perhaps even more expensive.

        The days of Apple making and selling low-cost “everyman” products, most memorably the Apple II computer, are long gone. The idea that a hypothetical Apple car would sell in the price range of $20k-30k is ignoring reality very firmly indeed!

    3. Stimpy says:

      They hope to sell a decent amount, unlike Tesla who has less than a tenth of a percent of the car market after 5 years in production.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Then they’d better get to building multiple auto assembly plants, and do it yesterday. So far as we know, they have yet to start building a single one, nor bought an existing one. If Apple does decide to actually build cars, rather than equipment to go into cars, then they had better get busy building or converting auto assembly plants, and they’d better get busy training staff to build cars.

        This fantasy that Apple is gonna hire some tiny existing or startup auto manufacturer to build a large volume of cars… well,
        ’nuff said.

        1. Sting777 says:

          My fear is Apple will build in China, with no American jobs.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            If Apple really does decide to enter the business of building cars — and despite what is being said in many articles here, I think that’s a big “if” — I would expect them to do exactly that: Build the cars in China. Making the parts in other countries in Asia, such as South Korea and Taiwan, then assembling Apple products in China, works very well for them. If Apple does decide to actually build cars, then my guess is they would do the same with those.

            Like it or not, China has become the #1 market for cars, and that includes EVs. It makes financial sense for any company selling cars on the international market to make them in China. That way they avoid the sky-high import duties and tariffs that China imposes on foreign imports, as well as taking advantage of cheap Chinese labor.

            I think it’s quite likely that Tesla will build its second auto assembly plant in China, once production of the Model ≡ exceeds the capacity of the Fremont plant. Perhaps they’ll start production in China even before Fremont reaches full capacity, so they can make a better profit margin on cars sold in China.

  8. Alaa says:

    Designing a car is one thing and making millions of it is another. The former is much easier. It is also realistic to assume that if Apple will manufacture millions of cars, then it will take years for them to do that. It is not going to take months.

    At the end of the day it is a good thing if Apple and others do it. So I do not see what the fuss is all about.

  9. przemo_li says:


    It will be Google. Google I say.

    They will make autonomous driving package that can interface with any underlying hardware, what do ever. Some of it dirty cheap!

    Never mind all those constant crashes 😉 😛 😉

  10. LOL says:

    Apple is gonna EXPAND THE MARKET, and that is all that counts. Price range is hard to envision, but anything between 20-30k would be just fine, given the high, almost impeccable, Apple quality.