Elon Musk has always said that competition is good for the electric car industry, and that apparently holds true even when the rivalry is with a juggernaut like Apple. In an interview with BBC News, Musk said that efforts by the iPhone maker to build an electric car "will expand the industry," adding that Apple's ambitions in this area were an "open secret." When pushed to say whether or not he knew for certain that Apple was building its own electric vehicle, Musk responded: "Well it’s pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it."
Apple's recruiting has made its ambitions obvious
Apple has said nothing publicly about such plans, but as Musk notes, it's difficult to hide your tracks when you're a 10-ton elephant crashing through the undergrowth. In February last year, the Financial Times reported that Apple was hiring automotive experts to work in a "top-secret research lab," with The Wall Street Journal quickly following this up by declaring that the company was "creating an Apple-branded electric vehicle" under the codename Project Titan. Numerous rumors and reports have followed since, with one of the most recent suggesting that Apple wants its electric car ready to unveil by 2019.
This timeframe would mean that Tesla at least has a few more years to further establish its position in the market, with the company still on track to unveil its slightly-more-mass-market Model 3 in March (although that will go up against GM's Chevrolet Bolt). As Musk says, though, this is a massive time of change for the automotive industry, and it's really anyone's guess as to who will end up on top. "The two biggest revolutions in transport are electrification and autonomy," Musk told BBC News. "Those are the two biggest innovations since the moving production line, and they’re both happening at about the same time."
Chevy Bolt An affordable electric car
Be sure to subscribe to The Verge's YouTube channel for more car videos