Apple has reportedly poached a top Tesla execute, Chris Porritt, Tesla’s former VP of engineering, according to Fortune. Porrittt will likely join Apple’s secretive car project, dubbed Project Titan.
Prior to working at Tesla, Porritt was Aston Martin’s chief engineer and was also a principal engineer at Land Rover.
Apple has never publicly acknowledged that it is developing a car, but the existence of Project Titan is an open secret among tech companies and automakers. Apple has hired hundreds of automotive engineers to work on the project, many of whom previously worked at Tesla. Reports surfaced last year that Apple had been poaching so many engineers from Tesla that it was slowing down Tesla’s production.
Porritt said last year that he met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk “three to four times per week,” so he brings with him a great deal of knowledge about Tesla’s business model, production processes and supply lines, and future plans. Given that Apple is expected to make an electric, connected vehicle, just as Tesla has, that knowledge could be just as valuable to Apple as Porritt’s engineering expertise.
Apple’s car project lost its leader, Steve Zadesky, a former Ford engineer, earlier this year. It also was hit with a hiring freeze after an unfavorable review by Jony Ive, Apple’s design chief, found a lack of progress at the project, Apple Insider reported. The hiring of Porritt seems like an effort to reset the car project and make progress towards its goal of developing a car by 2019.