Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Steve Zadesky, the 16-year Apple veteran leading up the company’s electric car project, had departed the company.
It looks as if Apple has found his replacement. Electrek reported on Tuesday that Apple has hired Chris Porritt to work on “special projects” at Apple.
Porritt’s last job was as vice president of vehicle engineering at Tesla, where he worked on the Model S and Model X. Before that he worked at Aston Martin, where he designed the Aston Martin One-77 supercar.
The report indicates that Porritt would likely be Apple’s “most senior car guy” on staff given Zadesky’s departure and will have several longtime Apple employees reporting to him.
Apple keeps its car work in its “special projects” division, alongside a good deal of people working on health and medical applications for the Apple Watch.
Apple’s car isn’t likely to hit the market for years — CEO Tim Cook has teased that “it’s going to be Christmas Eve for a while” — but the company increasingly looks committed to some kind of electric car project.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said it’s an “open secret” that Apple is working on a car, mainly because Apple seems to keep trying to poach Tesla engineers and executives. Porritt would be the first member of Tesla senior leadership to jump ship to Apple.
Earlier this week, a German newspaper reported that Apple has a team of 20 working in Berlin alongside potential partner Magna Steyr, the world’s largest contract car maker.
Here’s a video of Porritt speaking: