Apple's long-rumoured plans for an electric car is an "open secret", says Tesla Motor's chief executive Elon Musk.
Speaking to the BBC, the entrepreneur added it was "obvious" the tech giant has plans to introduce its own electric car at some point.
"It's pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it," he said.
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However, the prospect of Apple entering the market is not something which fazes him. Rather, the South African-born businessman welcomes new competition.
Back in 2014, Musk announced that Tesla's technology patents would be open to use for anyone or any company in good faith in an attempt to entice other automotive manufactures to speed up their electrification development programmes. Apple joining the sector is not something to fear, he says.
"It will expand the industry," he said.
Rumours that Apple is interested in making a car – its so-called Project Titan - have been around for some years. The Telegraph reports that the company has scouted for testing locations, met with officials and registered two web domains related to motoring.
The company has also hired several automotive engineers recently, including several from Tesla.
The Daily Mail has also reported on sightings in California of Apple minivans carrying radar-like equipment on the roof and that some claim a launch could be as soon as 2020.
A self-driving Apple car by that time would fall in line with Musk's predictions that Tesla will have fully autonomous vehicles on sale by the end of the decade, if not sooner. In his interview, he said that one day, "nobody will buy a car unless it's autonomous" and also briefly touched on how to make electric and self-driving cars more affordable, citing the upcoming entry level Tesla Model 3 which Auto Express believe could be seen this year with a price of around £30,000.
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