Elon Musk Thinks the Yet Unseen Apple Car Is a "Missed Opportunity"

Musk at Code conference 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
How can you call something you know nothing about a "missed opportunity?" Well, you can't, but Elon Musk can. And if you hear him out, he's not just doing it out of spite or fear, he's actually got some arguments.
With Tesla involved in both building electric cars and developing its own autonomous driving system, it's basically fighting side by side with car and AI companies as well. And since on July 29 it will also open its first battery plant, you can add the energy storage solutions manufacturers on the growing list as well.

However, Musk - as the personification of his company - must feel threatened by some more than others. For instance, he's made it very clear in the past he doesn't regard the other carmakers as direct competitors as far as electrification goes. Sure, Tesla is selling a luxury sedan and a luxury SUV, which automatically puts it against brands such as BMW or Lexus, but technology-wise, they are worlds apart. There's no stepping on anybody's toes there.

Its Autopilot program, on the other hand, is facing much more stern competition, and that's because Tesla didn't have the same head start it was allowed in the EV segment. It does have its advantages - a huge fleet of test cars on the roads that report back to HQ for free - but the other companies involved are also working hard.

When asked about Tesla Autopilot's main competitor during yesterday evening's Code conference, Musk did not provide the name we were all expecting. He thinks Google isn't the biggest threat, and backs the statement by arguing that "they're not a car company." That's true, but Google IS working with one, so maybe its efforts shouldn't be dismissed so quickly. Besides, what's going to stop Google from selling its system to the highest bidder once it's ready, which means any carmaker could eventually gain access to its technology.

But he didn't stray too far from the sunny California when he finally decided to give us a name. Somewhat surprising, even though Apple is hardly a "car company," he thinks that its Titan project is much more likely to yield a competitive self-driving electric car. “I would say that it’s great that they’re doing this and I hope it works out,” he said, rather affably.

“I think they should have embarked on this project sooner, actually... I don’t think they’ll be in volume production until 2020.” Well, Elon, not everybody can be as clairvoyant as you, we're afraid. “It’s just a missed opportunity. It’s a couple of years... they’ll make a good car and be successful.” And now we know how Apple will market its first car: "Project Titan, approved by Elon Musk." That's 373,000 deposits over just two months guaranteed.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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