Elon Musk Says Apple Engineers Are Tesla Rejects

AP

According to Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, engineers who can't make the cut at Tesla end up at Apple, or the "Tesla graveyard," as he calls the company in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, published Friday. 

"They have hired people we've fired," the CEO tells 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."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the new Tesla Model X SUV crossover Sept. 29, 2015.Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the new Tesla Model X SUV crossover Sept. 29, 2015.  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Musk's comment follows recent announcements that Apple is working on their first electric car, which could be available by 2019. Apple has been reportedly hiring several Tesla engineers to design the automobile, which could be partly the reason Musk has changed his tone surrounding Apple. 

Business Insider reports the two corporations may have talked about a possible partnership. Tesla Motors, Inc., the United States automobile and energy company, is known for its advanced electric cars and powerful battery products

"It's good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction," Musk told Handelsblatt about Apple getting into the car business. "But cars are very complex compared to phones or smart watches."

Tech site 9to5Mac reports Apple has been building a group of engineers and designers for its first electric car. The team, known as Project Titan, is tripling in size to 1,800 workers following conversations with California's department of motor vehicles. 

The company has been quietly building car products for some time, including an electric car battery. In order to design the components, Apple hired a Mercedes-Benz executive to become its director of Mac systems engineering, while poaching other employees from lithium ion battery company A123 Systems. The battery company filed a lawsuit claiming it's nearly unable to operate following Apple's pilfering of its workers, CNN reports. 

Oct. 9, 2015, 12:35 p.m. EDT: This story has been updated.