Former Tesla VP joins Apple as electric car project accelerates

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tesla
Tesla just lost another engineer to Apple.
Photo: CC Wikipedia

Apple’s not-so-secret electric car project has added yet another Telsa engineer to its growing ranks.

Former Telsa VP of Vehicle Engineering Chris Porritt has reportedly been hired by Apple. Porritt also recently worked at Aston Martin as chief engineer. Now he’ll be working on “special projects” at Apple — like Project Titan.

Apple recently lost its top car executive, Steve Zadesky, who was reportedly leading the clandestine Project Titan. The hiring of Porritt could make him Apple’s most senior car guy, according to Electrek, which discovered the hiring.

Project Titan, Apple’s foray into making an electric and/or autonomous vehicle, has reportedly gotten off to a rocky start. Apple put a hiring freeze on the car’s development team earlier this year. But now, it appears Apple is accelerating its efforts with a new R&D auto lab in Germany and a “Medusa” lab in Sunnyvale, California.

The addition of Porritt will be a great asset to the team, as he has extensive experience with vehicle dynamics, packaging and architecture from his long career as one of the U.K.’s best automotive engineers. He joined Tesla in 2013 after serving as one of Aston Martin’s top engineers since 1997.

Apple design chief Jony Ive is known for his love of Aston Martins, so Porritt should fit right in. Some of Aston Martin’s most iconic new cars, like the DB9 and V12 Zagato, were designed by Porritt. He also worked on the Model 3 chassis at Telsa, along with the Model S and Model X.

Porritt’s intentionally vague title at Apple is “Special Projects Group PD Administrator.” It’s unknown how much of the car team will report directly to Porritt, but his fingerprints will likely be all over Project Titan when the vehicle is finally unveiled in four or five years.