Anyone following the electric vehicle sector knows that the initial Model 3 ramp took a lot out of Tesla and its CEO. Elon Musk has noted that the Model 3 would have brought Tesla to ruin, had it not been for the efforts of its workers and sheer hard work. If Musk’s recent tweets are any indication, it appears that he really did reach some dark places during the most painful portions of the Model 3 ramp.
In a recent post on Twitter, Elon Musk revealed that he actually reached out to Apple CEO Tim Cook during the “darkest days” of the Model 3 ramp. According to Musk, he wanted to discuss the prospect of Apple acquiring Tesla, which was about 10% of its valuation today. Cook reportedly refused to even meet with Musk.
“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,” Musk wrote.
Ultimately, Apple’s reported not-so-subtle rejection of Elon Musk’s efforts paid off for the electric car maker. Since hitting lows in 2019, Tesla has recovered with a vengeance, mastering the Model 3 ramp, expanding into China, and producing the all-electric sedan there. Tesla has risen to record levels this 2020, too, becoming the world’s most valuable automaker by market cap.
While ignoring Elon Musk may seem quite harsh on Tim Cook’s part, perhaps it is not that surprising at all. Tesla and Apple have become very different companies, with the former thriving in high-risk, high-reward endeavors like the Model 3 and Apple taking a rather conservative strategy when it comes to its projects. There’s a reason why Apple’s new products in the post-Steve Jobs era were the Apple Watch and the AirPods, after all.
And thanks to Apple opting out of a potential Tesla acquisition, Elon Musk and his team were able to solve their issues on their own. Five profitable quarters and an inclusion into the S&P 500 later, and Tesla is now becoming a company that is doing the acquiring.