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Tesla just hired a key Apple engineer to help improve Model 3 reliability

Published Aug 17th, 2016 11:00PM EDT
Tesla Model 3

With Tesla now planning to manufacture 500,000 cars by 2018 — an ambitious goal to say the least — the company will need to get a much better handle on quality control issues. Especially with the highly anticipated Model 3 release looming on the horizon, Tesla will have to do everything in its power to ensure that the Model 3 doesn’t experience the same type of quality control issues that plagued the Model X when it launched not too long ago.

Over the past few years, Tesla has been afforded quite a bit of slack with respect to quality control problems, in part because the company was relatively new and in part because its pool of passionate users seemed willing to overlook quite a bit. But with upwards of 400,00o reservations for the Model 3 alone, Tesla’s grace period has arguably come and gone and the company will need to be at the top of its game if the Model 3 is to become the EV for the mass market that Tesla has long envisioned.

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Tesla, to its credit, is well-aware of its shortcomings and has begun taking steps to improve the quality of its cars coming off the line. Recently, Tesla hired David Erhart, formerly Apple’s Director of Reliability Engineering. Originally spotted by Electrek, Erhart at Tesla will become the company’s Senior Director of Reliability and Test.

According to the report, Erhart will assume command of a team that is beginning to play a more prominent role within Tesla as the Model 3 launch date draws closer.

Sources familiar with Tesla’s reliability effort say that the company increased the staff from a few engineers to over 40 full-time employees over the last year. Tesla added data scientists on the team and focused on reliability down to the design – not unlike how Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that the Model 3 is designed for manufacturing.

According to Erhart’s LinkedIn profile, he began working at Tesla this month after a nearly three-year stint at Apple. Notably, the poaching of senior engineers between Tesla and Apple doesn’t appear to be dying down yet. Speaking to the growing rivalry between the two companies, amidst rumors that Apple wants to roll out its own electric car, Tesla CEO Elon Musk a few months ago said that “If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple.” Later on, Musk also referred to Apple as a “Tesla graveyard.”


Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.