Between now and mid-2026, Ford will revitalise its entire European model range so that all cars are available as plug-in hybrids or pure electric. In the four years following that, it will move its passenger cars to all-electric, with the goal of hitting a 100 per cent EV fleet by 2030.
It’s not just passenger cars that are getting the zero emissions treatment; Ford’s entire commercial vehicle range will be zero-emissions capable as pure EV or PHEV by 2024 and expects two-thirds of commercial sales to be EV or PHEV by 2030.
To help facilitate this transformation, the brand is investing £720 million ($1bn) in its assembly facility in Cologne, Germany, representing the biggest investment in Europe “in over a generation”, according to Ford’s Europe boss, Stuart Rowley. It will fit out the production line for building EVs and PHEVs, with Ford set to rename it the ‘Ford Cologne Electrification Centre’. The brand’s first volume EV for Europe is set to roll off the production line at the factory in 2023, with a second EV built at the facility in consideration.
Whilst we don’t know the precise shape that the brand’s first ‘for Europe, by Europe’ EV will take, we do know that it will be based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform due to a deal struck between Ford and VW almost two years ago. More than 600,000 MEB-based cars with Ford badges on the front will subsequently roll off the line. In exchange, Volkswagen is benefitting from Ford’s extensive work in autonomous driving.
Stuart Rowley, President of Ford in Europe, said: “We will offer an exceptional range of electrified vehicles, supported by customer-centric digital services and experiences, allowing our customers to come with us on the journey to a fully electric future, starting right now with the launch of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E. In combination with our leading commercial vehicle business, this will form the basis of a sustainably profitable Ford business in Europe.”
At present, the Mach-E is the only pure EV available from the blue oval and various industry commentators, us included, have been pretty critical of Ford’s sluggishness to market with EVs and PHEVs. Other brands are already selling plenty of EVs in critical segments whilst Ford might have a hybrid – at best.
However, bosses at Ford are more than confident in its abilities. Last year when we spoke to Roelant de Waard, General Manager of Passenger Vehicles at Ford Europe, he said that “there’s nothing that other EV makers can do that Ford can’t” – and he name-dropped Tesla during that conversation. This bold announcement by Ford, whilst driven by factors such as the UK’s ban on new ICE sales by 2030, shows that its confidence in being able to compete is only building, and the brand is putting its money where its mouth is.