Apple picks up Tesla's former VP of Vehicle Engineering for 'special projects'

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Apple has reportedly recruited Tesla's former VP of Vehicle Engineering, Chris Porritt, to work on "special projects" at the company -- possibly to replace Steve Zadesky, the one-time head of Apple's electric car project, codenamed Titan.

Tesla's Model 3.
Tesla's Model 3.


"Special projects" is the banner under which Project Titan operates, Electrek noted on Tuesday. It's also a skunkworks label under which other Apple projects have been developed -- Apple Watch hires were assigned the same way. Porritt, however, is deeply rooted in the automotive world, having once been a chief engineer with Aston Martin.

With Zadesky gone, Porritt would be the one of the most senior car experts at Apple, and hence a candidate for taking over Project Titan. While at Tesla, he's said to have worked on the Model S, X, and 3. Some of his Aston Martin credits include the One-77 and the iconic DB9.

The executive reportedly didn't make the leap directly from Tesla to Apple, as there were a few months in between. His new title is "Special Projects Group PD Administrator," said to be a deliberately obscure title.

At least some high-level Apple engineers will be working under Porritt. One of these is Emery Sanford, a person who allegedly worked directly with Zadesky, and who has dozens of Apple patents to his credit.

Apple and Tesla have been engaged in a job poaching war for some time. Typically, though, Apple has only been able to recruit engineers, not top executives.

If reports are accurate, the company still has some ways to go before an "Apple Car" hits the road. Reports have suggested that the first model will only be ready in 2019 or 2020, and may not be self-driving, even though Apple is thought to be developing that technology.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    Is this another one of Musk's employees that "couldn't make it at Tesla so they go to work for Apple"?
    SpamSandwichschlackcalisuddenly newton
  • Reply 2 of 32
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,371member
    Give it another year and half of Tesla will be working for Apple.
    cali
  • Reply 3 of 32
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,123moderator
    Give it another year and half of Tesla will be working for Apple.
    Or all of Tesla.  Apple has the resources to ramp up Tesla production and get those Model 3 orders filled.  Hmm.
    cali
  • Reply 4 of 32
    schlackschlack Posts: 667member
    tesla's mission for mass electrification wouldn't really gel with apple's need for high margin products. apple would be better off not buying tesla but taking a large stake in the company and getting a seat on its board.
    radarthekatcali
  • Reply 5 of 32
    prolineproline Posts: 181member
    schlack said:
    tesla's mission for mass electrification wouldn't really gel with apple's need for high margin products. apple would be better off not buying tesla but taking a large stake in the company and getting a seat on its board.
    What are you saying exactly, that Apple wouldn't be able to sell a lot of cars because they will be expensive? Tell that to the iPhone. Apple's market share may not be big, but it is sure a hell of a lot bigger than Tesla's in pretty much every market Apple has attempted. And Apple has a huge influence over the design of non-Apple products in the markets they compete in. An Apple electric car, if such a thing will ever exist, would more than likely have more impact on the mass electrification of cars than Tesla.
    caliclock07
  • Reply 6 of 32
    Give it another year and half of Tesla will be working for Apple.
    Or all of Tesla.  Apple has the resources to ramp up Tesla production and get those Model 3 orders filled.  Hmm.

    Apple wouldn't make a car like Tesla. Musk is concerned with flash and not substance.

    If the iPhone was a car it would be like a sports sedan. Room for 5 adults, lots of cargo space, well-equipped with all sorts of useful luxury features (not gimmicks) and great all-round performance. Not to mention an excellent user interface (ergonomics) designed around not only the driver but the passengers as well.

    The Model S and Model X are garbage vehicles. Blindingly fast in a straight line but the rest of the car is average. I seriously wonder if anyone who's ever driven either car has even spent more than 2 minutes in a competing luxury vehicle. Because you'd soon realize that aside from the electric drivetrain (which any yahoo can build these days) the cars are pretty basic.

    I suggest someone go spend time in a Range Rover SVR (also around $144K - the same price buyers have been paying for the Model X) to see just how shitty the Model X really is and how many "luxury" features it's missing. I swear, people seem to think if you have power windows and power seats that your car is "fully loaded". Oh, but it has those cool-looking Falcon Wing doors. I guess that makes it worth the money. /s
    cornchip
  • Reply 7 of 32
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,761member
    Tesla has made a dent in the automobile oligopoly although it's a very small dent. This market, just like the broadcasting market, is very tough to get into and even more difficult to control. So far, Apple has made an impact in several markets, destroying both the historic music distribution and (cellular) phone markets. They compete very nicely in the general computing market even though people will say Microsoft still owns it. Apple is having difficulty getting into broadcasting market, which has a whole lot more power than the music industry ever had. The main broadcasting companies aren't willing to cede control to Apple. The automobile industry is even worse. Coupled with the oil industry and Wall Street, they control how much electrification of the automobile industry they will ALLOW. Tesla has fired a major shot across the bow of the automobile industry with the advanced reservations for the Model 3 reaching close to 300K (if it hasn't already exceeded that). GM delivered almost 200K in March alone meaning Tesla is still a minor player but one the smaller automobile companies will have to watch out for (ref: http://www.gm.com/investors/sales/us-sales-production.html). 

    So where does Apple fit in? General Motors, a worldwide corporation, is valued somewhere around $40B. IF, and that's a huge if, Apple wanted to be a game changer in the automobile market and truly electrify and finish the job Tesla and others have been doing to this market, they would have to buy, build, whatever a company at least the size of GM to really make a change. If all Apple wants to do is build a few (couple 100K) expensive EVs, then they can do this overseas using that horde of money they can't bring back without way too many taxes. This would end up being another Apple TV project that couldn't make a dramatic change because the broadcasting oligopoly wouldn't let them play and government regulators won't change anything because they're paid off by these companies. The Tesla Model 3 is finally a reasonably priced, high distance EV that many people will buy but as long as gas is still cheap and politicians and Wall Street can be bought, Tesla, and possibly Apple, will continue to be very small niche players in this global industry.
    cornchipbadmonk
  • Reply 8 of 32
    bradipaobradipao Posts: 145member
    proline said:
    Apple's market share may not be big, but it is sure a hell of a lot bigger than Tesla's in pretty much every market Apple has attempted. And Apple has a huge influence over the design of non-Apple products in the markets they compete in. An Apple electric car, if such a thing will ever exist, would more than likely have more impact on the mass electrification of cars than Tesla.

    I wonder where all those cars will be manufactured and how it will impact profits.

  • Reply 9 of 32
    propodpropod Posts: 49member
    rob53 said:
     Tesla has fired a major shot across the bow of the automobile industry with the advanced reservations for the Model 3 reaching close to 300K (if it hasn't already exceeded that). GM delivered almost 200K in March alone meaning Tesla is still a minor player but one the smaller automobile companies will have to watch out for (ref: http://www.gm.com/investors/sales/us-sales-production.html). 
    Tesla have more than 325k pre-orders for model 3 after 1 week. I think Tesla will grow really big if they can meet the demand? I also think that the competition will have a hard time competing against model 3 on price vs performance/features. In 1 year they will produce more than rest of the worlds production of litjion batteries, this will give give them a big advantage I think. Also if it where so easy to produce an electric car why hasn't anybody succeeded doing Tesla  challenger. Electric is the future for sure, an example: the Dutch is now considering to ban gasoline after 2025.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    rob53 said:
    Tesla has made a dent in the automobile oligopoly although it's a very small dent. This market, just like the broadcasting market, is very tough to get into and even more difficult to control. So far, Apple has made an impact in several markets, destroying both the historic music distribution and (cellular) phone markets. They compete very nicely in the general computing market even though people will say Microsoft still owns it. Apple is having difficulty getting into broadcasting market, which has a whole lot more power than the music industry ever had. The main broadcasting companies aren't willing to cede control to Apple. The automobile industry is even worse. Coupled with the oil industry and Wall Street, they control how much electrification of the automobile industry they will ALLOW. Tesla has fired a major shot across the bow of the automobile industry with the advanced reservations for the Model 3 reaching close to 300K (if it hasn't already exceeded that). GM delivered almost 200K in March alone meaning Tesla is still a minor player but one the smaller automobile companies will have to watch out for (ref: http://www.gm.com/investors/sales/us-sales-production.html). 

    So where does Apple fit in? General Motors, a worldwide corporation, is valued somewhere around $40B. IF, and that's a huge if, Apple wanted to be a game changer in the automobile market and truly electrify and finish the job Tesla and others have been doing to this market, they would have to buy, build, whatever a company at least the size of GM to really make a change. If all Apple wants to do is build a few (couple 100K) expensive EVs, then they can do this overseas using that horde of money they can't bring back without way too many taxes. This would end up being another Apple TV project that couldn't make a dramatic change because the broadcasting oligopoly wouldn't let them play and government regulators won't change anything because they're paid off by these companies. The Tesla Model 3 is finally a reasonably priced, high distance EV that many people will buy but as long as gas is still cheap and politicians and Wall Street can be bought, Tesla, and possibly Apple, will continue to be very small niche players in this global industry.

    Really enjoyed your post. It's always seemed fairly obvious to me that the industry is tightly controlled, and the creation of EVs has been suppressed.* The absence (and legal limitations) of plug-in hybrids seems to be solid proof that this is the case. It shouldn't be difficult, or costly, to make a plug in hybrid (especially when considering how many non-plug-in hybrids are on the road) with a 40 mile range that would satisfy the daily commute of 90% of drivers, and dramatically reduce gasoline consumption. But plug in hybrids remain conspicuously inconspicuous.

    However, ever since the rumor came out that Apple was serious about EVs (with a 1000 person team), the other car manufactures can't make EV prototypes fast enough, which suggests to me that the barriers to EV production may get substantially better in the near future. Either way, I think that Apple will be able to have a huge impact on the auto industry by doing what they do best, releasing a reasonably priced product that out-innovates the competition and presents a significant value over the competition. If Apple does that, they can't be ignored, and it will only be a matter of time before more barriers are removed.

    *Which makes the hype about carbon dioxide all the more ridiculous, such as placating the public with the ridiculous banning of incandescent light bulbs in the US, while so many more meaningful measures to curb energy use are overlooked.
    edited April 2016 cornchipclock07
  • Reply 11 of 32
    propod said:
    rob53 said:
     Tesla has fired a major shot across the bow of the automobile industry with the advanced reservations for the Model 3 reaching close to 300K (if it hasn't already exceeded that). GM delivered almost 200K in March alone meaning Tesla is still a minor player but one the smaller automobile companies will have to watch out for (ref: http://www.gm.com/investors/sales/us-sales-production.html). 
    I also think that the competition will have a hard time competing against model 3 on price vs performance/features.
    You're kidding, right? Have you seen how under-equipped the Model S and Model X are for the prices they charge? Cars that cost half as much are better equipped.

    Cars in the $30K price range have even slimmer margins. If Tesla can't properly equip their expensive cars, how are they going to be able to equip a much cheaper car?

    Even Musk was being deceitful at the Model 3 launch, showing off a sleek car with an all-glass roof and talking up the $35K price. Then a few days later said the Model 3 will also come with a "normal" roof as well. Do you think the $35K version comes with the "normal" roof, or the expensive all-glass roof? I predict a base $35K Model 3 is NOT going to be well-equipped at all compared to any other car for $35K.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,316member
    propod said:
    rob53 said:
     Tesla has fired a major shot across the bow of the automobile industry with the advanced reservations for the Model 3 reaching close to 300K (if it hasn't already exceeded that). GM delivered almost 200K in March alone meaning Tesla is still a minor player but one the smaller automobile companies will have to watch out for (ref: http://www.gm.com/investors/sales/us-sales-production.html). 
    Tesla have more than 325k pre-orders for model 3 after 1 week. I think Tesla will grow really big if they can meet the demand? I also think that the competition will have a hard time competing against model 3 on price vs performance/features. In 1 year they will produce more than rest of the worlds production of litjion batteries, this will give give them a big advantage I think. Also if it where so easy to produce an electric car why hasn't anybody succeeded doing Tesla  challenger. Electric is the future for sure, an example: the Dutch is now considering to ban gasoline after 2025.
    I certainly hope that Tesla is successful with the Model 3.  The pre-orders are great, but the question is if they can scale fast enough to deliver.  Last year (2015) Tesla produced ~50K cars. This year they are targeting ~80K.  Assuming they grow at a similar rate, it will take many years (past 2020) to deliver just the pre-orders that are already in.  Question is if the people will wait.  Other car manufactures are not standing still, and while Tesla Model 3 has the best looking one, cars like the Bolt, i3 & others are coming to market with similar range.
    cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 32
    drewys808drewys808 Posts: 524member
    Or all of Tesla.  Apple has the resources to ramp up Tesla production and get those Model 3 orders filled.  Hmm.

    Apple wouldn't make a car like Tesla. Musk is concerned with flash and not substance.

    If the iPhone was a car it would be like a sports sedan. Room for 5 adults, lots of cargo space, well-equipped with all sorts of useful luxury features (not gimmicks) and great all-round performance. Not to mention an excellent user interface (ergonomics) designed around not only the driver but the passengers as well.

    I'm not disagreeing with either.
    But I'm going to predict that Apple may start with more of a 1-2 person vehicle.
    Smaller, lighter, less than highway speeds, autonomous if needed...and covered, comfortable and will proliferate amongst city streets.
    Then will go to larger cars and vehicles.
    cornchip
  • Reply 14 of 32
    drewys808 said:

    Apple wouldn't make a car like Tesla. Musk is concerned with flash and not substance.

    If the iPhone was a car it would be like a sports sedan. Room for 5 adults, lots of cargo space, well-equipped with all sorts of useful luxury features (not gimmicks) and great all-round performance. Not to mention an excellent user interface (ergonomics) designed around not only the driver but the passengers as well.

    I'm not disagreeing with either.
    But I'm going to predict that Apple may start with more of a 1-2 person vehicle.
    Smaller, lighter, less than highway speeds, autonomous if needed...and covered, comfortable and will proliferate amongst city streets.
    Then will go to larger cars and vehicles.

    I have no idea what Apple will produce in terms of a car. I'm just stating that they don't waste time with stupid gimmicks that others (like Samsung or Google) are famous for. Like Face Unlock or Air View. I see them taking that approach to a car. Which is why Apple won't waste money on making something stupid like Falcon Wing doors or 3 second 0-60 times, but would put that money into something that has a bigger impact on the vehicle passengers.
    cornchip
  • Reply 15 of 32
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,486member
    drewys808 said:

    But I'm going to predict that Apple may start with more of a 1-2 person vehicle.
    IF Apple starts making cars I think they will start with three designs at once. That will really capture the attention of everyone. Something to compete with Model S, i3 and i8. I don't think they will go with economy models like Leaf or Bolt.
    cornchip
  • Reply 16 of 32
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,355member
    propod said:
    rob53 said:
     Tesla has fired a major shot across the bow of the automobile industry with the advanced reservations for the Model 3 reaching close to 300K (if it hasn't already exceeded that). GM delivered almost 200K in March alone meaning Tesla is still a minor player but one the smaller automobile companies will have to watch out for (ref: http://www.gm.com/investors/sales/us-sales-production.html). 
    Tesla have more than 325k pre-orders for model 3 after 1 week. I think Tesla will grow really big if they can meet the demand? I also think that the competition will have a hard time competing against model 3 on price vs performance/features. In 1 year they will produce more than rest of the worlds production of litjion batteries, this will give give them a big advantage I think. Also if it where so easy to produce an electric car why hasn't anybody succeeded doing Tesla  challenger. Electric is the future for sure, an example: the Dutch is now considering to ban gasoline after 2025.
    Are you for real? Features are near zero at 35K compared to similar priced cars.
    By the time Tesla ramps up to produce those car
    there will be competition of likely better equipped cars with similar drive train from well, every one else.

    Tesla needs high margins on these cars just to survive unlike the other car makers.
    If others offer cars with the same margin they get on their other cars, 5-6%, Tesla is in trouble.
    The battery tech is Panasonic, not Tesla;In fact there is nothing super duper about TEsla at all except hero worship.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 17 of 32
    propodpropod Posts: 49member
    propod said:
    I also think that the competition will have a hard time competing against model 3 on price vs performance/features.
    You're kidding, right? Have you seen how under-equipped the Model S and Model X are for the prices they charge? Cars that cost half as much are better equipped.

    Cars in the $30K price range have even slimmer margins. If Tesla can't properly equip their expensive cars, how are they going to be able to equip a much cheaper car?

    Even Musk was being deceitful at the Model 3 launch, showing off a sleek car with an all-glass roof and talking up the $35K price. Then a few days later said the Model 3 will also come with a "normal" roof as well. Do you think the $35K version comes with the "normal" roof, or the expensive all-glass roof? I predict a base $35K Model 3 is NOT going to be well-equipped at all compared to any other car for $35K.
    The model 3 will be a premium car in its segment. They will have the economy of scale to bring price down for batteries, the competition will not have that. The EV competition need to reduce its range or reduce its other feutures. Will the competition offer autopilot? Tesla also have a clear lead in battery management and chemistry.

    The gimmick with ludicrous speed and falcon doors has helped Tesla get famous, how much isn't that worth? Who doesn't dream of what they will come up with next?

    pre-orders is 400K now.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 974member
    brucemc said:
    propod said:
    Tesla have more than 325k pre-orders for model 3 after 1 week. I think Tesla will grow really big if they can meet the demand? I also think that the competition will have a hard time competing against model 3 on price vs performance/features. In 1 year they will produce more than rest of the worlds production of litjion batteries, this will give give them a big advantage I think. Also if it where so easy to produce an electric car why hasn't anybody succeeded doing Tesla  challenger. Electric is the future for sure, an example: the Dutch is now considering to ban gasoline after 2025.
    I certainly hope that Tesla is successful with the Model 3.  The pre-orders are great, but the question is if they can scale fast enough to deliver.  Last year (2015) Tesla produced ~50K cars. This year they are targeting ~80K.  Assuming they grow at a similar rate, it will take many years (past 2020) to deliver just the pre-orders that are already in.  Question is if the people will wait.  Other car manufactures are not standing still, and while Tesla Model 3 has the best looking one, cars like the Bolt, i3 & others are coming to market with similar range.
    The factory they own has a capacity to build 500000 cars a year, so they have room to grow.
    Adding extra production lines is of course not easy and getting the supply chain running smoothly isn't either, but Mr. Musk has an advantage when it comes to rocket science.
    (Reminds me of Saab, building planes and automobiles ...)
  • Reply 19 of 32
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 974member

    Or all of Tesla.  Apple has the resources to ramp up Tesla production and get those Model 3 orders filled.  Hmm.

    Apple wouldn't make a car like Tesla. Musk is concerned with flash and not substance.

    If the iPhone was a car it would be like a sports sedan. Room for 5 adults, lots of cargo space, well-equipped with all sorts of useful luxury features (not gimmicks) and great all-round performance. Not to mention an excellent user interface (ergonomics) designed around not only the driver but the passengers as well.

    The Model S and Model X are garbage vehicles. Blindingly fast in a straight line but the rest of the car is average. I seriously wonder if anyone who's ever driven either car has even spent more than 2 minutes in a competing luxury vehicle. Because you'd soon realize that aside from the electric drivetrain (which any yahoo can build these days) the cars are pretty basic.

    I suggest someone go spend time in a Range Rover SVR (also around $144K - the same price buyers have been paying for the Model X) to see just how shitty the Model X really is and how many "luxury" features it's missing. I swear, people seem to think if you have power windows and power seats that your car is "fully loaded". Oh, but it has those cool-looking Falcon Wing doors. I guess that makes it worth the money. /s
    I know for sure your are mistaken: where I live people are extremely wealthy and own several cars (at once) of the same class and beyond you mention, but the last few years the same people buy loads of Model S's and drive with almost a smile.
    People like that are totally spoiled and know the difference but keep buying the Model S.

    Adding to that, rumor has it that BMW and Mercedes are very worried about Tesla, because sales data shows they have already lost the competition in that segment, at least in the U.S.
    propod
  • Reply 20 of 32
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 974member

    *Which makes the hype about carbon dioxide all the more ridiculous, such as placating the public with the ridiculous banning of incandescent light bulbs in the US, while so many more meaningful measures to curb energy use are overlooked.
    Insane indeed, they did the same in Europe, luckily we have the former Soviet Union nearby and it is possible to order light bulbs in the Ukraine (being slightly radioactive, but he, that adds a faint glow so you even have light when it's off).

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