Tesla employees have been jumping ship to Apple to work on the company’s ultra-secret car project, codenamed “Project Titan.” This has had a “big impact” on the development of new Tesla vehicles, Apple Insider reports.
Apple Insider’s source claims that Apple has as many as 1,000 employees working on Project Titan, with “many” of those having joined the company from Tesla. According to LinkedIn, however, just 80 Apple employees list Tesla as a former employer, and not all of these employees are engineers.
Business Insider reached out to Tesla and Apple for comment.
It’s not clear whether delays to the production of the Model X have stemmed from the apparent exodus of Tesla employees, since the Model S Sedan also suffered significant setbacks even though production started long before “Project Titan” appears to have begun. There are also rumours of delays to the production of Tesla’s Model 3, which is scheduled for delivery in late 2017.
Musk told Bloomberg in February that Apple had been trying “very hard to recruit from Tesla.” Apple apparently offered 60% salary bumps and $US250,000 signing bonuses. “But so far they have actually recruited very few people,” Musk added at the time.
Around the same time, Business Insider received an unsolicited email from an employee at Apple about “vehicle development” at the company.
This person said Tesla employees were “jumping ship” to work at Apple.
“Apple’s latest project is too exciting to pass up,” the person said. “I think it will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money.”
Many of those hired before February — about 50 according to LinkedIn — turned out to be engineers who had interned at Tesla.
Meanwhile, AppleInsider’s source “would not rule out” the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla. Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster previously expressed that this would be a smart move for Apple in the long-term. However, there’s no indication that Musk wants to sell the company.
This hiring spree goes both ways. Tesla has hired about 150 people from Apple so far, according to Bloomberg.
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