Elon Musk says he once tried to sell Tesla to Apple, but Cupertino wouldn’t even agree to a meeting with CEO Tim Cook.
The Musky one revealed this version of history in a Tweet.
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). He refused to take the meeting.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2020
The Tweet came in response to another from a chap named Brett Winton, who works as director of research at investment advisory ARK Invest. Winton commented on recent wire reports that say Apple is going to make its own electric car. The reports in question claimed that Apple has developed a battery technology based on lithium-ion phosphate and will use a “monocell” – rather than lots of little batteries in an array.
Musk rubbished both plans.
Lithium-ion phosphate earned his scorn on grounds that it can’t be a breakthrough because Tesla already uses it. He declared a monocell “is electrochemically impossible, as max voltage is ~100X too low. Maybe they meant cells bonded together, like our structural battery pack?”
“Apple building a car rumours” have persisted for almost as long as “Apple building a TV” rumours. The latter never happened. And Apple made deep cuts to its car research team in 2016. Even if Apple has revived its automotive ambitions, a 2025 horizon for production gives it plenty of time to change its mind.
But there are two elements of Musk’s story that ring true. One is that Tesla was in deep trouble in 2018, when its attempts to increase production of its new Model 3 caused a cash crunch. The other is that in August 2018 Apple hired Doug field, formerly senior veep of engineering at Tesla where he led the Model 3 effort. Field is still at Cupertino, as veep of its special projects group.
Musk’s Twitter feed also points out that on Monday his other company, SpaceX, conducted its 26th launch of the year and again landed the first-stage booster. The landing came on the fifth anniversary of SpaceX’s first landing of an orbital booster. ®