Thought leadership

Tesla founder Elon Musk says that Apple chief executive Tim Cook snubbed talks to buy the car company back in 2017. Mr Musk tweeted on Tuesday that he reached out to the Apple boss during his company’s “darkest days”.

At the time Tesla was valued at $60bn (£45bn), but it has now grown to be worth 10 times that amount. Mr Musk said he had planned to discuss a possible sale of Tesla to Apple as it was struggling financially while building its Model 3 electric car.

During that cash crisis, the billionaire entrepreneur told his employees that its factory faced a period of “production hell”. Weeks later he tweeted about sleeping on the roof of the factory as he tried to fix production bottlenecks.

However, Tesla overcame the problems and has since posted up a string of quarterly profits. This week, the electric carmaker became one of the most valuable companies to join the S&P 500 index.

Apple has ambitions of its own to build an electric car and has hired a number of ex-Tesla executives, along with buying companies that specialise in self-driving technology.

Reports that Apple was working on a driverless car appear to have prompted Mr Musk to tweet about his apparent approach to Mr Cook in 2017. “He refused to take the meeting”, Mr Musk replied in a Twitter chain on suggestions that Apple is looking to produce a passenger vehicle by 2024 with a new battery technology.

Shares of both Apple and Tesla have surged since the beginning of 2017. Tesla has gained more in that time, rising roughly 1,400%, but is still worth less than a third of Apple’s market capitalisation.

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