Tesla Acquisition Rumors Surface Again As Apple ‘Tests’ Secret Electric Vehicle

An iCar may be coming soon — at least, that’s the prevailing rumor by tech prognosticators eying Apple’s so-called testing and prepping an electric car. Although nothing is official, some believe it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” in terms of Apple acquiring Elon Musk’s Tesla automotive operation, according to a PCMag report out Saturday.

“Rumors about a Tesla-Apple matchup started with a Sunday report from the San Francisco Chronicle, which said Musk met with Apple dealmaker Adrian Perica. That prompted speculation about a possible iCar—or at least a Tesla with some Cupertino customizations,” wrote the online magazine.

There’s a backstory to how the storm of rumors over an Apple-Tesla partnership or acquisition gained even more traction. Last week, a blog that follows the latest developments of the iPhone maker discovered a patent issued to Apple Electric Car, Inc. Instantly, many jumped to conclusions that it signaled Tim Cook and Company were officially developing an EV or sending word to Tesla that the market had a new sheriff in town. No so fast.

On the contrary, the patent was issued to a company based in Miami. Apple has its home in Cupertino. Moreover, the registration was about a golf car depicted with a touch-screen. The finding of the patent appears to be purely coincidental. However, there’s more to the story.

According to sources claiming to be in the know, Apple has a team of hundreds secretly testing an electric vehicle. The not-so-covert project is called Titan, citing insider reports. Reportedly, the buzz comes on the heels of Apple minivan sightings in Claycord, California. The vehicles are to said to have been equipped with special sensors linked to navigation. This sparked rumors that the company is exploring the development of a Street View or Tesla-type competitor to challenge the market leaders.

Nearly a year ago, news broke that Tesla’s CEO met with Apple execs, possibly to discuss a takeover. And while Musk appeared to downplay rumors that his company was on the market, he didn’t fully close the door on future possibilities.

“I could certainly see us potentially doing … something that allows people to use Android or iOS applications, but that’s somewhat peripheral to the fundamental goal of Tesla, which is to accelerate the electric car revolution.”

Tesla’s stock has been on a rocky road as of late with Wall Street investors. With falling oil and gas prices, analysts are not sure if consumers feel the need to give up on crude just yet.

Bottom line: an acquisition between Apple and Tesla has not been confirmed, despite numerous reports cropping up to suggest same. But with Musk’s pledge to put thousands of satellites into space with his Space X program, perhaps it’s time he parted company with a niche market and beat Virgin Airlines into space?

[Photo by Kevork Djansezian /Stringer/Getty Images]