Elon Musk Says He Has No Idea What Apple's Car Project Is Up To

The Tesla CEO said "it's not clear" what exactly Apple is working on when it comes to its automotive plans. 

Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Just because they're Bay Area neighbors doesn't mean they talk. Tesla CEO and potential Bond villain Elon Musk says he's not sure what exactly Apple is up to with regards to its highly secretive automotive project.

“I don’t know what they're doing on the car front,” Musk said on an earnings conference call on Wednesday, according to Recode. "It's not clear."

Rumors of the so-called "Apple Car" ranked among the hottest gossip in both the tech and car industries for more than a year, as Apple pursued a mysterious automotive program known as Project Titan. That program reportedly had its priorities shifted last summer away from producing a physical car towards software development. Since then, the Apple car plans went largely silent...until last month, when the company filed paperwork with California to test self-driving cars on public roads (and quickly began doing just that). 

Like Elon Musk, just about everyone else who doesn't work at One Infinite Loop is in the dark when it comes to Project Titan (or whatever the Apple car project is known as these days). Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped industry experts (well, "experts") from suggesting Apple would be better off simply purchasing an existing car company outright. Indeed, such reports have flown about from time to time. Last year, rumors briefly flew that Apple was considering buying McLaren; those rumors were quickly put to bed, though the supercar company's acting CEO Mike Flewitt did say reps from the tech company did stop by and talk with McLaren. Likewise, in an interview with Bloomberg, Musk said Apple's acquisitions team spoke with him about picking up Tesla, though the EV-maker's CEO said he wasn't interested in such a deal. 

It's not as though the iPhone maker doesn't have the money to buy an automaker, though. As of last quarter, Apple had nearly $250 billion in liquid assets lying around. Or, to put it another way, Apple effectively has enough capital to buy Tesla, General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari, and BMW all at once...and still have enough cash left over to build a nuclear aircraft carrier