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Tesla car chief returns to Apple 'to work on secret car project'

Margi Murphy
Doug Field, Tesla's vehicle engineering boss, has returned to Apple to work on secretive 'project Titan' - Honda 

Tesla’s chief vehicle engineer has returned to Apple to work on the iPhone giant’s secretive self-driving car project.

Doug Field will join former colleagues at the Cupertino company where he held the role of vice president of Mac hardware, Apple has confirmed.

Tesla poached Field from Apple in 2013 stating that he had the “leadership and technical talent to develop and deliver outstanding products." Field was in charge of overseeing the Model 3 production line, which was plagued with operation glitches.

He left Tesla in May after taking “some time off to recharge and spend time with his family.”  A month later, Tesla founder Elon Musk installed a makeshift assembly line tent outside the Tesla plant in a last ditch attempt to produce 5,000 Model 3 cars every week before the second quarter deadline. 

Field will be involved in Apple's car division named “project Titan”, according to respected Apple Pundit John Gruber. Apple has declined to comment on whether Field is part of the car initiative or not. 

Field left Tesla in May after operational glitches hampered the Model 3 production Credit: Reuters

Apple is understood to have been working on electric vehicles for several years but is now believed to have scaled back to creating electric car technologies which it could sell to car manufacturers.

Tesla boss Elon Musk has previously joked that Apple was the “Tesla graveyard”, claiming that “if you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple”.

It comes at a trying time for Tesla. The company could face an investigation after founder Elon Musk tweeted about plans to take the company private on Tuesday evening, sending shares skyrocketing.

Tesla representatives later denied, then confirmed that this would be the case, claiming that the volatility of being public was affecting the businesses chance of success. Critics have questioned whether Musk broke the law by revealing its plans to offer $420 per share on the public forum before a deal had been struck.