Where does Tesla get its tech people? Apple, of course.

If you’re trying to find success for an obscure, high-end product that’s ahead of its time, you might as well pull from a pool of people that helped to make an obscure, high-end product that was ahead of its time.

Tesla Motors Inc., the Silicon Valley electric-car company, has hired Doug Field, a top Apple Inc. product engineer, to run its new-vehicle programs. Mr. Field, as vice president of Mac Hardware Engineering, led the development of products such as the latest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac, Tesla said. Earlier in his career, he was an engineer at Ford Motor Co.

Mr. Field’s hiring illustrates how Tesla’s management views its luxury vehicles high-end product as a piece of high-tech gadgetry. Indeed, electric vehicles have relatively few moving parts and increasingly resemble rolling smartphones, loaded with applications and technology.

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