A few weeks ago, Elon Musk put out a call on Twitter for “hard-core software engineers” to work on Tesla Motors Inc.’s autonomous car program. The company’s inbox was flooded.
While Mr. Musk was only looking for 100 prospects, he may want to keep the other applicants within ear shot. The electric-car company, which recently released its first sport-utility vehicle and will soon open a battery factory in Nevada, is looking to add thousands of employees in coming years just as an auto industry showdown for tech talent is brewing.
Tesla isn’t the only player in town. The 12-year-old company is tussling with a growing mass of auto makers crowding into California looking for people capable of helping develop software and other components needed to power electric or autonomous vehicles.