Tesla CEO Elon Musk criticized Apple multiple times during an earnings call. The CEO called out the iPhone maker for its use of cobalt batteries as well as made mention of the company’s so-called “walled garden” ecosystem.
During its latest earnings call for Tesla, Musk was asked to discuss the company’s supply chain. According to CNBC, the conversation eventually pivoted to the general misconception that the company uses cobalt batteries. Setting the record straight, Musk defined how much cobalt is used within its lithium-ion cells, commonly found in both smartphones and electric cars. This was also Musk’s first swing at Apple, who according to Musk, uses far more cobalt than Tesla.
“Apple uses I think almost 100% cobalt in their batteries and cell phones and laptops, but Tesla uses no cobalt in the iron-phosphate packs, and almost none in the nickel-based chemistries,” Musk said. “On on a weighted-average basis we might use 2% cobalt compared to say, Apple’s 100% cobalt. Anyway, so it’s just really not a factor.”
It’s no secret that Apple uses cobalt within its batteries to power its devices. Although there were regular concerns of where its cobalt was supplied and potential human rights abuses that may be associated, Apple has a public record of its supply. Last year, all cobalt smelters and refiners working with Apple were audited.
Musk didn’t stop to only make one mention of Apple during the earnings call. No, later on, the CEO took another jab at Apple and called out the company for its apparent “walled garden” ecosystem. Many have criticized Apple in the past for its closed platform and strict App Store policies. Apple maintains full control over which apps can be installed on its devices and forces the use of the App Store as a marketplace.
“I think we do want to emphasize that our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy,” Musk said in response to a question about letting competitors use its charger network. “It is not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors which is used by some companies.”
Musk then faked a cough and said, “Apple.”
Tesla and Apple aren’t commonly seen as competitors. At least in the current space. However, that all might change given the rumours and reports that Apple is developing its own autonomous electric car. That said, we’re still years away from seeing Apple’s very own vehicle on the open roads.