A few months ago, Tesla’s billionaire CEO Elon Musk called the rumored Apple car an “open secret.” During an interview at Re/code’s Code Conference, Musk said he believes Apple will become a major competitor. But the Cupertino company’s rumored electric car is still a few years away. Musk told hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher that the Apple car is unlikely to enter mass production before 2020.
Apple car may be too late
The Tesla founder believes that Apple started its car development project too late. He admired the iPhone maker’s ambitions, but said it was falling behind in the fast-paced industry. In 2015, reports surfaced that the world’s most valuable company had spent more than a year studying the feasibility of building an Apple car under the Project Titan. Apple has hired more than a thousand engineers, software developers, and battery technology experts to develop the car.
Elon Musk’s estimate lines up well with previous rumors indicating a 2019-20 release for the Apple car. A few days ago, the USPTO granted Apple patent for a technology that will allow owners to control the car and grant temporary access to other users. The tech giant has leased and purchased several real-estate properties in and around the Silicon Valley to design, develop and test its electric car that may also potentially have autonomous driving capabilities.
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Google unlikely to become an automaker
Elon Musk believes it’s Apple, not Google, that will compete Tesla in the autonomous driving space. He said at the Code Conference that Google is unlikely to enter the automobile market, even though it has been working on a self-driving electric car for years. Musk thinks the search engine giant would license its automobile-related technology to existing automakers.
Tesla is gearing up to launch its mass-market electric vehicle Model 3 in late 2017. The company has received a whopping 373,000 reservations for the car whose design hasn’t been finalized yet. Musk expects to freeze the Model 3 design in six weeks.