Elon Musk Says Apple Electric Car Team Is Filled With Graveyard Of Fired Tesla Employees

Tesla Motors is at the forefront of innovation in the electric car market. The company got the ball rolling with its Roadster, then really amped things up with the Model S. The Model S has been heaped with praise and continues to get better with new high performance variants and numerous over-the-air software updates. And the company is now ready to tackle the soccer mom market with the Model X and the entry-level luxury market with the Model III should arrive sometime in 2017.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is an audacious leader that demands a lot from his engineers (and himself) to push the envelope when it comes to advancing electric vehicles. So you might think that Musk would be upset that Apple has been snatching up Tesla employees at a rapid clip for its own electric vehicle program; but you would be wrong.

Besides his statement that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are “so bullshit,” his commentary on the exodus of Tesla employees to Apple is probably his most rancorous to date. “Important engineers? They have hired people we’ve fired,” said Musk in an interview with German publication Handelsblatt. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

Elon Musk and President Obama
Elon Musk walking with President Barack Obama

Youch! Those are some harsh words for his defectors, and it also sounds a bit like sour grapes. Tesla and Apple both court top engineering talent, and Tesla has snagged its fair share of Apple employees as well. Does that mean that Tesla is currently employing Apple’s discarded leftovers?

With that being said, Musk didn’t stop there. He also went on to mock the Apple Watch, question Apple’s ability to create electric vehicles at scale, and to blast its efforts to truly innovate in the tech space.

“Cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches. You can’t just go to a supplier like Foxconn and say: Build me a car,” Musk continued. “But for Apple, the car is the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation. A new pencil or a bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough.”

Musk also took some time during the interview to throw some stones at Volkswagen, which is embroiled in a worldwide emissions scandal with its 2.0-liter turbodiesel engines.

“We have reached the limit of physics for what gasoline and diesel can do,” said Musk. “You see what’s happened with the current diesel scandal at Volkswagen. In order to make progress, they apparently had to cheat.”

We shouldn’t be too surprised to see Musk taking joy in seeing Volkswagen get caught with its pants down. After all, he sees electric cars as the future and internal combustion engines a relic of the past. While it remains to be seen how long it will take for electric cars to truly become commonplace on U.S. roads, we’re still going to be relying on gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles for decades to come.