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Tesla hire Apple smartphone chief to lead car development

Arrival of former Segway and Mac hardware engineering VP marks new drive to expand market share

(Pic: Tesla Motors)

(Pic: Tesla Motors)

Leading US electric car manufacturer Tesla has hired Doug Field, Apple’s head of Mac design, to lead the development of new vehicles.

Field, who started his career as a Ford engineer, was involved closely in the release of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac.

Tesla has enjoyed a rapid rise since it was set up by Californian billionaire Elon Musk in 2003, with market capitalization of $20 billion, a third of Ford.

“Until Tesla came along, I had never seriously considered leaving Apple,” said Field in a statement. “I started my career with the goal of creating incredible cars, but ultimately left the auto industry in search of fast-paced, exciting engineering challenges elsewhere.

“As the first high-tech auto company in modern history, Tesla is at last an opportunity for me and many others to pursue the dream of building the best cars in the world – while being part of one of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley,” Field said.

The news comes as Tesla starts to push its new Model S range in Europe.

Costing around £55,000, it has a range of 160-300 miles depending on the specifications, and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds.

“When somebody buys a Model S they’re helping pay for that in a way that buying an Aston Martin or Ferrari is not,” Musk said at a launch in London.

“Aston Martin is going to make more Aston Martins, Ferrari is going to make more Ferraris, but what we’re trying to do is make a compelling mass-market electric car.”

Global sales of pure electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars topped 110,000 in 2012, according to the International Energy Agency, more than double 2011’s sales but less than 0.2 per cent of overall sales.

Efficient Apple

Separately, Field’s former employers Apple has launched its thinnest, lightest and most energy efficient iPad yet.

Apple says its iPad mini uses power-efficient components and software that intelligently manages power consumption.

Its size also helps reduce its material footprint in terms of manufacturing and shipping.

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