Tesla chief Elon Musk says Apple is making an electric car
Tesla's owner, Elon Musk, has said it is an "open secret" that Apple is making a rival electric car.
He also predicted vehicles that could not drive themselves would become a "strange anachronism" before too long.
The tech entrepreneur's comments were made at his design studio near Los Angeles.
Tesla vies with Nissan and BMW to be the world's bestselling electric-car brand, but currently runs at a loss.
An added challenge is that over recent months several of its engineers have been hired by rivals, including China-backed Faraday Future and Apple.
Apple has not formally announced it is working on a vehicle, although it did recently register several automobile-related internet domains, including apple.car and apple.auto.
Mr Musk said it was "obvious" that the company would try to make a compelling car of its own.
"It's pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it," he said.
But he did not see the iPhone-maker as a threat.
"It will expand the industry," he said.
"Tesla will still aspire to make the most compelling electric vehicles, and that would be our goal, while at the same helping other companies to make electric cars as well."
Push to summon
Mr Musk outlined a vision of a future where all cars would be electric and autonomous, and driving yourself would become a hobby rather than a necessity.
Tesla's Model S – a sports car that ranges from £56,000 to £85,000 depending on the chosen battery capacity and performance – has been one of the bestselling electric cars of recent years.
In recent months, its Autopilot feature has given the car a number autonomous driving features:
- keeping in lane
- adjusting its speed as other cars cut in
- changing lane without the driver needing to intervene
Last weekend, it gained a new "beta" feature that allows owners to summon their car with their smartphone.