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Elon Musk reveals Apple’s ‘open secret’

Evidence suggesting Apple is in the throes of developing an electric car continues to pile up, though of course the company itself won’t make any official announcement till CEO Tim Cook tootles onto a stage in one. If it ever happens.

Elon Musk, a man who, as head of electric-car maker Tesla, may one day have to face down competition from the tech giant, said on Monday it’s obvious that Apple is knocking something together.

“It’s pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it,” Musk told the BBC in a rare TV interview, adding that Apple’s car project is “an open secret.”

Related: Tesla rolls out Summon, a beta self-parking feature for Model S and X

Musk joked back in October that “if you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple,” and at the same time said the company had “hired people we’ve fired.”

In Monday’s interview, the 44-year-old CEO seemed pretty laid back about the prospect of a company as big as Apple entering the industry, and even welcomed the possibility.

“I encourage more participation, by whoever it is, to create electric vehicles,” he said.

He was even generous enough to suggest Apple would “probably make a compelling electric car,” adding that a move toward developing such a machine seemed like “the obvious thing to do” for the tech firm.

Related: Everything we know about the rumored Apple Car

So Musk, for one, is convinced Apple is working on an electric car, and given his position, he’d surely know. His comments came just days after it emerged the Cupertino company recently registered a set of domains, which, if they’re not linked to a car project, suggest someone at the company has a very mischievous sense of humor.

The domains – apple.car, apple.cars, and apple.auto – were all registered in December.

There’s been plenty of claims from “sources with knowledge of the matter” over the last year about the supposed existence of an Apple car, among them a report from the often reliable Wall Street Journal that said the company planned to have an electric car on the road by 2019. As for the look of the motor, and how far it’ll go with self-driving features, the rumor mill looks certain to spin wildly on those matters before the truth is finally revealed.