Elon Musk takes dig at Apple, defends Tesla, points to cobalt use in cells

Elon Musk says he thinks Apple uses 100% cobalt in its products while Tesla hardly uses any.Elon Musk has also highlighted that Tesla charging network
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File photo of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (REUTERS)
File photo of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pointed the accusatory finger towards Apple and said the electronics giant is guilty of using cobalt in the batteries that are then fitted into gadgets. At the same time, Musk also painted a favourable image for Tesla and said the batteries made use of by the EV company hardly uses any cobalt.

As per reports in the US media, Musk took a dig at Apple during Tesla’s quarterly earnings call. "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," he was quoted as saying. "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."

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The issue of cobalt primarily pertains to the larger issue of mining in countries like Democratic Republic of Congo where many point to widespread violation of human rights. Most companies want to have a sustained supply of cobalt for use in cells but - quite obviously - do not want to be known for getting these from countries with such a nefarious reputation.

Apple in the past has highlighted that all its cobalt suppliers participated in audits in 2020. Musk however pointed to the extent to which cobalt is used in batteries for Apple gadgets vis-a-vis batteries meant for Tesla EVs.

But that is not all.

Musk reportedly took another dig at Apple when asked if rival EVs can make use of Tesla charging network. "I think we do want to emphasize that our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy. It is not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors which is used by some companies," he said, before fake coughing 'Apple'.

Musk has been previously praised by Apple CEO Tim Cook who has said that he admires his work style. And while Tesla and Apple are not direct competitors, Apple reportedly has plans of developing an electric vehicle and its Project Titan is believed to be working towards that end.

(With inputs from CNBC)

First Published Date: 28 Jul 2021, 09:38 AM IST
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