Tesla CEO Elon Musk took a dig at Apple, telling the BBC in an interview that the company’s rumored electric car is an “open secret.” Musk said this in response to a question about if he had heard anything about Apple’s plans of developing a car.Tesla CEO: Apple’s Car Project is An 'Open Secret'

Apple’s car project still a secret?

As evidence, Musk pointed towards the huge number of new hires at Apple with a background in the automotive industry. He said that when a company hires more than a thousand engineers for a particular task, then it becomes pretty difficult to keep it a secret. Tesla’s CEO believes that Apple is very “serious” about the project.

The first rumors surrounding Apple’s car project, codenamed “Project Titan,” surfaced in early 2015. Since then, Apple has been poaching talent from major automotive companies like Tesla, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Samsung and others. Evidence pointing towards Apple working on a car has been growing over the past few months.

Apple recently bought three auto-related top-level domain names: apple.car, apple.cars and apple.auto. Not much is known about Apple’s car project for now, but recent reports hinted that the company is also exploring self-driving technology, although this feature might come in some later version of the Apple Car.

Tesla CEO welcomes competition

Despite the potential competition, Musk said he wholeheartedly welcomes participation from any company in the electric vehicle business but also cautioned that doing it is not easy. When asked if he believes that Apple could be a potential threat to Tesla, Musk said Apple will most likely develop a “compelling” car because “it seems like the obvious thing to do.”

“Tesla will still aspire to make the most compelling electric vehicles, and that would be our goal, while at the same helping other companies to make electric cars as well,” Musk said.

Apple has hired many former Tesla employees for its car project, and this is the reason Musk is aware of Apple’s hiring efforts. The two companies compete with each other for talent, creating a sort of rivalry between them. In an October interview, Musk took another jab at Apple, saying engineers who fail to make it at Tesla go and work for Apple, although he retracted the statement later.