Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla has revealed that he once attempted to sell his electric car company to Apple.

However, he could not take any step or action on the purported sale because Apple CEO Tim Cook did not respond to a requested meeting

Although Musk did not say exactly when he requested the meeting, he described it as being “during the darkest days of the Model 3 programme”.

Tesla was struggling to meet vehicle production targets for the electric car – its first designed for the mass market – in 2017 and 2018.

At the time Musk said the company was in “production hell”, blaming problems with automated production systems at its battery factory in Nevada.

In a tweet to his 41m followers, Musk said had asked for a meeting with Apple boss Tim Cook “to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for one-tenth of our current value)”.

Musk said: “He refused to take the meeting.”

Tesla’s value, as at the close of trading on Tuesday, was $616bn (£458bn), so a tenth of this would be $61.6bn (£45.8bn).

The company is also finally making a profit after years of losses and in October it delivered a record number of new cars.

Its shares have soared 665% this year and it is the world’s most valuable automaker and among the top 10 biggest US companies in the S&P 500 index.

Tim Cook would probably now wish that Musk requested because Apple is still struggling to build its own autonomous car even though it has set a 2024 deadline to produce one.