Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has said that Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) chief executive Tim Cook previously snubbed a proposal to buy the electric car company in 2017.

On Tuesday, Musk tweeted that during the company’s “darkest days” of its program to build its Model 3 vehicle, when it was struggling financially to fund the project, he had reached out to Cook to discuss a possible sale of the firm, which at that point was valued at around US$60bn, around 10% of its current market cap of over US$600bn.

However, Musk continued by saying that Cook had refused the meeting, however, since then Tesla has managed to resolve its Model 3 problems and seen its share price surge to become one of the most valuable companies on the S&P 500 index, which it was added to on Monday.

Apple may enter the market anyway

However, while Apple may have snubbed Musk’s previous offer, the tech giant looks set to muscle its way into the self-driving electric car market after a Reuters report on Tuesday revealed that the company is set to launch production of its vehicle by 2024.

The iPhone maker has been rumoured to have had a secret project to make a self-driving car, however, the firm has never acknowledged the program publicly.

However, the report said that the firm has now progressed far enough with the project to build a car for sale to motorists, adding that the company has also developed a new design for the vehicle’s batteries that will reduce their cost and increase driving range.

However, entering the car market will place Apple into uncharted territory for the firm and likely place it on a collision course with Tesla and potentially other tech giants such as Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) which has its own self-driving car projects.

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