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Tesla's Elon Musk: Apple missed an opportunity by not building a car sooner

The Apple Car has been the subject of countless rumors and speculative reports in the past few months. While we still don’t know for sure what’s going on at Apple’s home base in Cupertino, California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes that an Apple-badged car would make a lot of sense. In fact, he’s surprised it hasn’t happened yet.

“I think they should have embarked on this project sooner. They don’t share with me the details, but I don’t think there will be volume production sooner than 2020. It’s a missed opportunity,” said the executive during Vox Media’s Code Conference.

Interestingly, Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs considered building a car a couple of years ago. Jobs would often ponder what an iCar’s dashboard could look like, what kind of seats it could use, and what fuel it could be powered by. Ultimately, Jobs decided it was wiser to focus on rolling out new products, like the original iPhone and the first iPad, than to leap headfirst into the auto industry.

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Musk expects that Apple’s rumored car will compete against members of the Tesla lineup, and he welcomes the competition. “I hope it works out,” he noted. However, he admitted that he doesn’t see Google as a direct competitor.

“Google’s done a great job of showing the potential of autonomous transport, but they’re not a car company,” he said during the conference.

The executive added that he expects other car companies will instead work with Google in a bid to take on Tesla. He didn’t elaborate, but his comments presumably refer to self-driving technology. Google has tested self-driving Toyota and Lexus cars in the past, and it recently inked a deal with Chrysler to build 100 self-driving Pacifica vans. The search giant added that it’s talking to “a lot of different automakers,” and it’s open to forming additional alliances with automakers.