Apple turned down offer to buy Tesla on the cheap

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The Tesla Model 3 is the company’s sedan
When Tesla was struggling to launch the Model 3, the CEO investigated selling the company to Apple.
Photo: Tesla

Apple could have bought electric automaker Tesla at a bargain price, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. But Apple’s chief executive wasn’t interested.

Musk revealed this historic bombshell Tuesday, alongside his comments on a recent report about Apple’s plans for a self-driving vehicle.

“During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value),” the controversial CEO and serial entrepreneur said on Twitter. “He refused to take the meeting.” Cook has been Apple CEO since 2011.

Musk didn’t get specific about when the “darkest days” were, but Tesla struggled to launch the Model 3 in 2017.

Apple Car vs. Tesla

It’s not known if Cook regrets this decision now. But Apple reportedly was already working on its own design for an autonomous electric vehicle back then. Tesla is expected to be a top competitor for the Apple Car if it debuts in a few years, as is rumored.

On Monday, a few of details about Apple’s plans for this vehicle leaked out. Its battery will allegedly use a “monocell” design that packs in extra capacity by not breaking the battery up into smaller cells. And it would be made of lithium iron phosphate.

Musk commented on these details of report on Twitter, stating that “Tesla already uses iron-phosphate for medium range cars.” He also noted that “a monocell is electrochemically impossible, as max voltage is ~100X too low. Maybe they meant cells bonded together, like our structural battery pack?”

Supposedly, even Apple hasn’t fully decided whether it will make a complete electric vehicle or a self-driving system for other cars. Sources in the company’s supply chain say Cupertino is investigating the practicality of making a whole Apple Car — hence the experiments with battery technology.