Tesla’s VP of vehicle engineering is headed to Apple

It’s been an exciting week for Apple’s electric car program. On Monday, we reported that the tech firm had set up a secret development lab in Berlin, Germany, fueling rumors that the Apple Car may not be built in America. Despite the fact that Apple has yet to confirm the venture officially, “Project Titan” is making waves yet again.

Electrek reports that Apple has hired Chris Porritt, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering, to work on “special projects.” If you’ve been keeping tabs on our Apple Car rumor roundup, you’ll know that the alleged leader of Project Titan, Steve Zadesky, departed from Apple earlier this year, creating a high-profile vacancy at the top of Apple’s automotive aspirations.

Porritt’s experience in the automotive space is vast. His three-year tenure at Tesla was relatively short — he reportedly worked on the platforms for the Model S, Model X, as well as the chassis for the Model 3 — but before that, Porritt spent nearly 16 years at Aston Martin as a chief engineer. He helped design the incredible One-77 supercar there, and before that, he cut his teeth as a boffin for Land Rover.

If the report rings true, this is a huge boost for Apple’s growth as a burgeoning car brand, one that gives the firm a stronger connection to the automotive industry than ever before. In addition, Porritt’s understanding of electric and self-driving vehicles will be invaluable to the Cupertino, California tech giant, as the Apple Car will almost certainly be an EV with some autonomous capabilities.

Related: Rumors suggest the Apple Car won’t be born in America

How will Tesla CEO Elon Musk react to the news? Well, last year the executive called Apple a “Tesla Graveyard,” saying, “They have hired people we’ve fired. If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

Musk later clarified his comments, assuring that he was indeed an Apple fan and was happy the brand was working on an EV.

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