Ford hires Tesla engineering chief to work on advanced EV development

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

In its latest move to beef up its in-house technology and electric vehicle expertise, Ford Motor Co. has hired away a Tesla Inc. engineering director to work on advanced EV development.

Automotive News first reported Thursday that Ford had poached Alan Clarke from Tesla, the country's leading EV manufacturer. Ford confirmed the hire and said Clarke would be working on advanced EV development under Doug Field, a former Apple and Tesla tech executive Ford hired in September.

Alan Clarke

According to his LinkedIn profile, Clarke worked in a number of roles at Tesla for more than 12 years. Most recently, he served as director of new programs engineering. He worked on numerous Tesla products, including the Model Y, the Roadster and Model 3, among other projects, according to LinkedIn.

He joins the company as Ford aims to boost its annual EV production capacity to 600,000 units by the end of next year, and as it prepares to launch the all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck this spring. The automaker has committed to investing $30 billion in electrification through 2025.

Ford's hiring of Field to serve as chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer for the Blue Oval was touted as a major coup, given Field's accomplishments in product engineering.

Field began his career working as a development engineer for Ford. He went on to work for Apple, where he helped develop Mac hardware. He later left the company to serve as senior vice president of engineering for Tesla, where he led development of the Model 3. Field returned to Apple — where he reportedly led the company's secret car project — in 2018 after spending about five years at Tesla.

At Ford, Field is tasked with leading the company's design, development and implementation of a next-generation cloud-based technology platform, and with playing a major role in delivering the digitally-connected products and services in which Ford sees massive revenue potential. Ford last year unveiled a turnaround plan that looks to leverage electrification, commercial vehicles and connected services to generate new, recurring revenue streams.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski