Tesla boss Elon Musk has revealed he once attempted to sell his electric car company to Apple.
Mr Musk, 49, did not say exactly when he requested a meeting with the tech giant’s chief executive but he described it as being “during the darkest days of the Model 3 programme”.
Tesla was struggling to meet vehicle production targets for the electric car – its first designed for the mass market – in 2017 and 2018.
At the time Mr Musk said the company was in “production hell”, blaming problems with automated production systems at its battery factory in Nevada.
In a tweet to his 41m followers, Mr Musk said had asked for a meeting with Apple boss Tim Cook “to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for one-tenth of our current value)”.
Mr Musk said: “He refused to take the meeting.”
During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He refused to take the meeting.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2020
Tesla’s value, as at the close of trading on Tuesday, was $ 616bn (£458bn), so a tenth of this would be $ 61.6bn (£45.8bn).
The company is also finally making a profit after years of losses and in October it delivered a record number of new cars.
Its shares have soared 665% this year and it is the world’s most valuable automaker and among the top 10 biggest US companies in the S&P 500 index.
Apple’s automotive project began in 2014 but it has also faced challenges.
Apple has declined to comment on Mr Musk’s tweet.