Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he expects Apple Inc. to be a direct competitor for electric vehicles sales as early as 2020.
Apple will “probably make a good car and be successful,” said Musk at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes on Wednesday. “They should have embarked on [the car] project sooner.”
In September 2015, inside sources at Apple reportedly said that an electric vehicle is in the works with a “ship date” set for 2019. Since then, Apple hasn’t confirmed it is working on an electric car and didn’t respond to Musk’s comments.
“It’s great [Apple is] doing this, and I hope it works out,” Musk said to the audience. “I don’t think any of the car companies have made a great electric vehicle, yet.”
Musk says he expects Apple will compete directly with traditional automakers in manufacturing its own electric vehicles. As for Google’s self-driving car initiative, it is Musk’s opinion that Google will license its technology to other companies. Google executives have previously indicated this is the direction the tech giant could go.
Musk expects fully autonomous vehicles to be technically possible within two years, though regulators will take an additional year to approve broad use of such autos. Musk said he plans to hold an event later this year to discuss Tesla’s plans in self-driving vehicles.
As for the Model 3, Musk said the company has received about 400,000 preorders. He has projected the company will produce half a million electric cars in one year by 2018, and as many as one million annually by 2020.
Musk also spoke as CEO of space transport company SpaceX, where he reiterated plans to send a rocket to Mars as soon as 2018. SpaceX will also make sure that a manned rocket will launch as soon as 2024 and will land on Mars by 2025.
SpaceX will also be relaunching one of the rockets that successfully landed after takeoff within the next two months, Musk said. Building rockets that can be relaunched will significantly reduce the cost of space travel, as new rockets cost around $35 million, he said.
Musk, 44 years old, said that he hopes to die someday on the planet of Mars.
“If you’re going to choose where to die, then Mars is not a bad choice,” he said.