SANTA CLARA, Calif. (TheStreet) -- As speculation grows that Apple (AAPL - Get Report) may enter the electric vehicle market, Tesla Motors (TSLA - Get Report), which has done as much as any company to popularize the business, says it would gladly welcome the world's best known technology company into the mix.
"As it relates to Apple potentially doing an electric vehicle, we've always said that our objective is to accelerate the transition to electric and renewable and sustainable energy," said Tesla's communications chief, Ricardo Reyes, in an interview at Tesla's Palo Alto, Calif. headquarters.
Apple's entrance into the electric car market would stand as a stark contrast to the world's major automakers, which have largely pushed off plans to aggressively produce and market a vehicle powered without the assistance of fossil fuels.
"We need people that can do it with us to do this, and if OEM's [traditional auto manufacturers] aren't going to do it fast enough, then whoever steps up to the plate, it's a good thing for us," Reyes said.
Apple wasn't immediately available for comment.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been outspoken about his disappointment that General Motors (GM - Get Report), Ford (F - Get Report) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU - Get Report), among others, have yet to advance electric vehicles. The Detroit Three (as the group is known) have made some movements in the electric vehicle market -- GM offers a hybrid vehicle, the Chevy Volt -- but don't offer anything on the level of Tesla's Model S.
Earlier this year, GM announced the all-electric Chevy Bolt, which it said would be ready for 2017.
Musk made waves on Monday when he said Tesla would unveil a new product next month that isn't a car. Since then, analysts have speculated that the new product will relate to the home battery Musk hinted at preparing to build during the company's February earnings call. Reyes wouldn't comment further on the mystery product except to note that the company would make announcements regarding energy storage.
"We're working on some pretty interesting stuff."
Major new Tesla product line -- not a car -- will be unveiled at our Hawthorne Design Studio on Thurs 8pm, April 30— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2015
The alternative fuel vehicle market is still just a fraction of the overall new vehicle market.
According to AutoNews, the U.S. luxury market accounted for approximately 1.9 million vehicle sales in 2014. By contrast, sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles were only around 6% of that number, with around 120,000 sold domestically in 2014, according to data compiled by Sam Abuelsamid, senior research analyst at Navigant Research. According to Edmunds, the 2015 projection for just the electric vehicle market is around 67,600 units (0.35% of the total U.S. car market), aided by the 2016 Chevy Volt.
Musk and Tesla open sourced the company's patents last year in an effort to spur innovation and advance the electric vehicle market. Reyes said he didn't know whether any other company has yet used Tesla's patents.
By open sourcing the company's patents, Tesla made the unconventional move to accelerate the pace of electric vehicle innovation. At the time, the move puzzled analysts and investors, given the intrinsic value of patents, particularly in Silicon Valley.
Tesla said, however, that its shareholders can benefit over the long haul whether it's Apple or another company taking the patents and using them to further expand the electric vehicle market."The folks who buy our vehicles and invest long term in our company are investing because they believe the way we are going, we're moving away from the internal combustion engine and we're moving into a more sustainable energy world," Reyes said. "Any movement towards that over the long haul, and they're ahead of the game."