Google, Tesla And Apple Race For Electric, Autonomous Vehicle Talent

Apple, Google, Tesla, and Ford appear to be in a bit of a hiring -- and in some cases, poaching -- spree to build up their electric and self-driving car teams. Here is a look at some of the more high-profile comings and goings.
Tesla Hires Former Apple, AMD Chip Guru Jim Keller
Apple's Project Titan Loses Team Leader Steve Zadesky
Apple Hires Former Chrysler Exec Doug Betts
Apple Poaches Jamie Carlson From Tesla Motors
Google Taps Hyundai, Ford Vet John Krafcik As Self-Driving Car Division CEO
Tesla Announces New Leaders In Finance, Sales And Service
Ford Taps Ken Washington As VP Of Advanced Engineering
Tesla Hires Apple VP Doug Field To Lead Vehicle Programs

The high-stakes race to develop mass-market electric vehicles and the more recent, if less compelling, technology behind self-driving vehicles, has spurred a fierce battle for top talent at some of the world's biggest companies, including Apple, Google, Ford, and Tesla.

Apple and Tesla in particular seem keen to poach from each other's ranks, though the company better known for iPhones and MacBooks appears to be furiously ramping up its efforts and keeping a secretive lid on just what Titan, its electric vehicle project, is all about.

With secretive hirings also come unexpected departures -- the newest being the reported exit of Apple veteran Steve Zadesky from Project Titan.

Zadesky's departure has put additional pressure on the Titan team, which, according to the WSJ report, has been faced with unattainable targets and no clear goals. Bloomberg reported last February that Apple is pushing the team to have an electric car in production by 2020.

[See Google, Tesla, Nissan: 6 Self-Driving Vehicles Cruising Our Way.]

Along with the search for top talent are less than guarded remarks from industry leaders, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who had some choice worlds regarding Apple's poaching methods.

"We always jokingly call Apple the Tesla Graveyard," Musk told the paper. "They have hired people we've fired ... If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I'm not kidding."

Later, Musk sent out a Tweet that backed off on some of the Apple comments.

"Yo, I don't hate Apple. It's a great company with a lot of talented people. I love their products and I'm glad they're doing an EV," he wrote on his official Twitter account. 

As the electric vehicle space continues to get more competitive, we're likely to see ever-bigger battles for talent as more companies enter the fray. Here's a look at some of the recent big comings and goings.

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