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Tesla loses Roadster chief engineer behind several important vehicle programs to Ford

Tesla has lost its executive in charge of new vehicle programs who has been in charge of several important engineering programs, and now, he is going to work on Ford’s electric vehicles.

Alan Clarke has been at Tesla for over a decade.

He started out as a senior design engineer in 2009 and worked on several projects, including the Model S’ iconic door handles.

He listed some of the projects on his LinkedIn page:

  • Model X – Advanced Engineering, integration of front drive unit and rear drivetrain, integration of high voltage distribution, manufacturing of all closure panels
  • Mechanical Design of Model S Battery Enclosure – design and development of aluminum structure and steel covers including castings, extrusions, and stampings, and multiple joining and sealing technologies
  • Advanced design of Front and Rear Suspension and Steering including Catia Kinematic Modeling for Model S
  • Model S Full Vehicle Package Owner – drove resolution for integration issues
  • Model S Exterior Door Handles Concept Mechanism and first prototype design to prove out concept for production

Clarke was quickly promoted to director of new program engineering – a role he has been holding at Tesla for the last four years.

In this role, he led several important programs for Tesla including “Chief Engineer for the Tesla Roadster Prototype”, leading vehicle architecture for Model 3 and Model Y, as well as engineering on the Cybertruck prototype.

We previously reported that he was named as one of the inventors on a patent for the Cyebrtruck’s retractable solar bed cover.

After over a decade at Tesla, he announced this week that he has accepted a role in Ford’s Advanced EV development group. He is going to join Doug Field, who also held a top engineering role at Tesla for years before going back to Ford after a stint at Apple.

Electrek’s Take

It looks like a big loss for Tesla, but they will survive.

I like seeing this kind of employee movement to legacy automakers because I think ultimately, it will help accelerate EV programs for them, which will accelerate EV adoption in the long run. Ford has now quite a few former top Tesla engineers who have experience bringing new EV programs to mass production. This will be helpful as the company is just now moving in that direction after years of only making EVs as compliance cars.

Just earlier this week, we reported on how Ford CEO Jim Farley hilariously said that “Ford would rival Tesla in EV demand right now if it was producing enough electric vehicles“.

It’s time for Ford to move to volume production of electric vehicles.

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