Apple hired former Tesla Motors Vice President of Vehicle Engineering Chris Porritt last year to join its "special projects" group, possibly to spearhead its much-rumored electric vehicle project, according to Electrek.

Chris-porritt-aston-martin

Chris Porritt and the Aston Martin One-77 supercar

Porritt brings decades of experience in the European automotive industry with him to Apple, having worked on vehicle dynamics as a principal engineer at Land Rover between 1987 and 1997 before serving as chief engineer at Aston Martin until 2013.

During his tenure at Aston Martin, Porritt played a significant role in designing the One-77 supercar, while he also led teams that worked on the similarly luxurious DB9 and V12 Vantage. He left the automaker to join Tesla three years ago.

At Tesla, Porritt reportedly worked on the Model S and Model X, in addition to the chassis of the recently-announced Model 3.

Porritt's role at Apple is unsurprisingly secretive, having been assigned the vague title of "Special Projects Group PD Administrator," but his automotive expertise suggests that he could have a senior role within the "Project Titan" team that is widely rumored to be working on the so-called "Apple Car" project.

Following the recent news that alleged "Apple Car" project lead Steve Zadesky would be leaving Apple for personal reasons, Porritt's seniority would make him a strong candidate for a leadership role within the company's secretive automotive team. At least a few Apple engineers are already reporting to him internally, according to the report.

We can confirm that some senior Apple engineers will be reporting directly to Porritt, including Product Development Engineering Director, Albert Golko, who until last year was working for the iPhone group and now on unspecified products. Emery Sanford is also said to report directly to Porritt now. Sanford is a prolific engineer named in dozens of Apple’s patents and who often worked directly with Zadesky, the exec believed to have been in charge of Project Titan until earlier this year.

It is publicly known that Apple and Tesla have been fighting over top employees, and recruiting talent away from each other's respective companies. Tesla CEO Elon Musk once called Apple the "Tesla Graveyard" where fired Tesla employees go to work. Musk has also referred to the "Apple Car" as an "open secret."

GM Tesla
Apple's purported automotive team is believed to include hundreds of employees that previously worked at A123 Systems, Autoliv, Concept Systems, Ford, General Motors, General Dynamics, Land Rover, Tesla Motors, Texas Instruments, and elsewhere. Apple Car R&D could be finalized in time for a 2019 or 2020 launch.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
Tag: Tesla

Top Rated Comments

Dilster3k Avatar
86 months ago
After discussing with other experts in the field, I've concluded that he joined Apple
to work on new Apple Watch straps.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Amacfa Avatar
86 months ago
Looks like big score for Apple. All the cars he worked on look stellar.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordQ Avatar
86 months ago
Aston Martin <3
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jayducharme Avatar
86 months ago
Contrary to what Musk has said, it doesn't sound like Porritt is someone who would have been fired from Tesla, nor does it sound like his presence at Apple constitutes a "graveyard".
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
86 months ago
I wonder if Apple plans on showing anything at all before people start configuring/committing to their Tesla Model 3's. If Apple is quick, people who have Model 3 deposits can still get them refunded and swap to Apple. That's what GM is banking on with the Bolt (but there's little evidence that anyone is actually doing that.) If the Model 3 remains on schedule, Tesla will start asking people to configure their cars and make the full payment in ~15 months.

It seems to me that a large amount of the people who would be interested in an Apple Car if they knew anything about it will instead be purchasing the Tesla Model 3 and so be set for 5-10 years on the car front if Apple fails to say anything before then.

Unless Apple is planning on doing some kind of car share program, where people don't need to make large commitments. But that would be very unique for Apple... up until Apple Music they always had the stance that people prefer to own things.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Keane16 Avatar
86 months ago
Looks like a man with mighty fine taste. Some beautiful cars he's worked on.

Project Titan is the most excited I've been for an Apple rumour since the "Apple Phone".

I hope I can look back in 25 years and view the original Teslas like I think of the early cell phones. Much better in theory than the landlines they replaced, but still lacking. I'd like to see Apple build on the work Tesla, GM, Toyota etc. have done and come up with something I really want to own. Much like the iPhone built on the work Palm, Blackberry, Synbian and the rest did.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Even though Black Friday is officially over, we're still tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts through the weekend as we head into Cyber Monday. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note:...
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and even with the shopping holiday officially over, we're still seeing solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with ...
airpods pro 2

Apple Engineer Addresses Lack of Lossless Support on New AirPods Pro

Friday November 25, 2022 2:58 am PST by
An Apple engineer has addressed the lack of lossless audio support in the second-generation AirPods Pro in a new interview. Current Bluetooth technology in the AirPods lineup means that Apple's audio products do not support Apple Music Lossless audio. Apple has previously hinted that it may develop its own codec and connectivity standard that builds on AirPlay and supports higher quality...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues through the weekend with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
maxresdefault

Nothing Phone 1 Displays AirPods Battery Level After Latest OS Update

Friday November 25, 2022 3:33 am PST by
Nothing Phone 1 users today began receiving the Nothing OS 1.1.7 update, which adds support for displaying the battery percentage of connected AirPods, amongst other improvements and bug fixes. If you own a Nothing Phone 1, you can check for the OTA update by going to Settings -> System -> System updates. Bear in mind that as support for displaying AirPods battery level is still an...
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday as they continue through the weekend, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate...