In recent years, Ford has hired its fair share of former Tesla executives as it continues to transition to a more electrified future – a list that includes former engineering director Alan Clarke, who FoMoCo hired to help it with its EV ambitions, as well as Tesla’s former VP of special products, Doug Field, who now serves as its chief EV, digital, and design officer. Thus, it should come as no big surprise to learn that the person leading the development of a new low-cost Ford EV – a bit of information that was just revealed – is also a former Tesla executive, according to TechCrunch.
That executive is indeed Clarke himself, who is currently leading the Advanced EV development team at Ford. Clarke’s skunkworks team – which has been operating more like a startup and in total secrecy – is based in Irvine, California, and has been working on developing this low-cost Ford EV for roughly two years now, according to CEO Jim Farley.
In addition to Clarke, this skunkworks team also consists of engineers from Auto Motive Power (AMP), an EV startup that FoMoCo acquired back in November 2023 – a group that includes AMP founder Anil Paryani, who also worked with Clarke for roughly five years at Tesla.
This new low-cost EV is critical to Ford’s future success in that space, given the fact that high prices remain one of the biggest barriers standing in the way of mass all-electric vehicle adoption. Automakers like Ford are also well aware of the threat posed by affordable Chinese all-electric vehicles, too. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently stated that Chinese EV automakers will “demolish” their American counterparts when they wind up being sold in the U.S., and Farley also noted that he believes those same companies are Ford’s biggest rivals moving forward, too.