Is an iTesla in the works?

Earlier this week there were rumors that pioneering computer company Apple was thinking about buying pioneering electric car maker Tesla … and now the Tesla CEO has confirmed that the two have talked.

In an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg Television, Elon Musk said that his company “had conversations with Apple,” but added that he wouldn’t comment “on whether those revolved around any kind of acquisition.” The news drove Tesla’s stock price higher this week, but the meeting reportedly occurred early last year.

When asked if his company is for sale, Musk didn’t rule it out, but said it was “very unlikely” because Tesla is focused on developing a mass market car and “any kind of acquisition scenario, whoever it is” could distract from that task. However, he also said he wouldn’t exclude any acquisition possibility that could improve those chances.

Last weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle first reported the meeting between Adrian Perica, head of Apple’s mergers-and-acquisitions unit, and Musk, and added that Apple CEO Tim Cook may also have attended. Some reports have suggested the meeting could have focused on the use of iOS in Tesla vehicles, or battery development.

Late last year, Musk announced his company would build “the biggest battery plant in the world so far,” focused on lithium-ion technology and undertaken in partnership with other companies. Apple may well be one of the companies on his list.

Musk has also said his company is pioneering self-driving vehicle technology, whose interfaces could obviously benefit from the kind of elegant ease-of-use for which Apple’s products are famous.

The idea of an Apple car has been kicking around for quite a while, powered by Steve Jobs’ interest in the possibility and the dramatic reinvention that the Cupertino tech giant would likely undertake. Not to mention, of course, those jokes about Apple-made cars….

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