Elon Musk insists Apple is making an electric car

Apple CarPlay
Apple's automobile ambitions might stretch beyond CarPlay.

Is Apple secretly building an electric car? Apparently so according to Elon Musk, whose Tesla company would be one of the Apple's direct competitors if indeed the iPhone maker decided to jump into the automobile market.

Apple's plans are an "open secret" Musk told the BBC in an interview. "It's pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it," he said. Rumours to that effect have been swirling for months.

Apple's recent trend of hiring car industry experts isn't the only clue we've had: domain name registrations and clandestine meetings about test tracks also suggest there's something big in the pipeline. Oh, and Apple design guru Jony Ive has gone on record with his disdain for modern motor vehicle aesthetics as well.

Kings of the road

Musk doesn't seem too concerned about the upcoming iCar, though: "It will expand the industry. 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," he told the BBC.

What's less clear is whether Apple's vehicles will have any self-driving technology built into them - early reports are suggesting not, but that would leave them a long way behind their rivals right from the off.

Musk says within a couple of years Tesla drivers will be able to summon their cars from anywhere (borders and oceans permitting) with the press of a button. "Owning a car that is not self-driving in the long term will be like owning a horse - you would own it and use it for sentimental reasons but not for daily use," he said.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.