Ford Motor Company has poached former Tesla engineering director Alan Clarke as the Detroit carmaker looks to challenge North America's EV leader in the coming years.
Clarke, a 12-year Tesla veteran, joined Ford in January to work with the Advanced EV Development department in California, according to his LinkedIn page. He made the move public on the professional network earlier this week.
Before joining Ford, Clarke worked as director of new programs engineering for Tesla between October 2017 and January 2022, senior manager of new programs engineering (January 2012–October 2017), and senior design engineer (September 2009–January 2012).
The 35-year-old engineer played a key role in developing the Tesla Model S, overseeing the design of the car's battery enclosure, suspension, steering and exterior door handle mechanisms. He also contributed to the development of the Tesla Model X drivetrain.
In his role as senior manager of new programs engineering, he led important programs for Tesla, including vehicle architecture for Model 3 and Model Y, chief engineering for the Tesla Roadster prototype, and engineering work on the Cybertruck prototype.
"I’m happy to share that I'm starting a new position in Advanced EV Development at Ford Motor Company," Clarke wrote on his public LinkedIn profile page. More than 700 people responded to the news, including Ford CEO Jim Farley who posted, "Welcome, Alan! Great to have you on the team."
Ford signing Clarke follows the hiring of another former Tesla top engineer, Doug Field, who also headed Apple's car program. At Ford's Advanced EV Development division, Clarke will report to Field, a Ford spokesperson told Automotive News. Field is Ford's chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer.
The high-profile hiring speaks volumes about Ford’s goal of competing with Tesla and other companies in EV and technology. The carmaker recently pledged to produce 600,000 EVs a year globally through 2023 and plans to invest $30 billion in battery-powered products by 2025.
By accelerating its shift to electric vehicles, Ford plans to eventually challenge Tesla for the title of North America’s largest EV manufacturer.
Following the rollout of the Mustang Mach-E crossover in December 2020, Ford last week began shipping E-Transit vans to customers and plans to launch the F-150 Lightning pickup this spring.