Earlier this year, Ford unveiled plans to make 100% of its passenger vehicles in Europe zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by mid-2026, completing the all-electric transition by 2030. The Michigan-headquartered auto giant also says 66% of its commercial vehicles will be all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030. 

 

Ford’s vehicle assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, will receive a $1 billion upgrade as the company ups its electric vehicle investments. Image courtesy Ford
Ford’s vehicle assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, will receive a $1 billion upgrade as the company ups its electric vehicle investments. Image courtesy Ford

 

Overall, Ford is investing $22 billion into electrification through 2025. (This amount counts spending from 2016 onwards, including $7 billion through 2020.) Most of this investment will be dedicated to battery electric vehicle (BEV) production expansion. The company is focusing on high-volume areas it already dominates, including pickups, utilities and commercial lines. 

Much of Ford’s global EV strategy is centralized in Europe, where it commands a leading 14.6% share of the commercial vehicle market. 

Several production expansions signal Ford’s EV push in the region. In February, the company announced plans to invest $1 billion to modernize its vehicle assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, rebranding to the Ford Cologne Electrification Center. The facility will produce Ford’s first European-built, volume all-electric passenger vehicle in 2023.

 

Ford’s vehicle assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, will receive a $1 billion upgrade as the company ups its electric vehicle investments. Image courtesy of Ford

 

Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley stated in the announcement that the company’s electric vehicle business will “form the basis of a sustainably profitable Ford business” in the European market. Its popular Mustang Mach-E model arrives in the region this quarter.

“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,” Rowley added.  

On the battery production side, Ford announced in March that it would invest €5.2 million (about $6.1 million USD) to support increased battery pack production capacity at its plant in Valencia, Spain. Operations kicked off last September, fueled by a €24 million investment announced in January 2020.

These plans follow an overall return to profitability in the European market over the fourth quarter of 2020. Ford reported its highest quarterly European profit in over four years with $414 million in EBIT and an EBIT margin of 5.8%. Profitability also spanned its core commercial, passenger and import business segments. 

On the charging front, Ford has partnered with BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen to create a pan-European joint venture focused on EV charging infrastructure. The IONITY consortium has built a direct current charging network capable of up to 350 kW charging with more than 300 stations and 1,200 individual chargers on European highways. 

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Ford’s EV sales hit record levels in the first quarter of 2021, led by the all-electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid. The company sold more than 25,900 electrified vehicles in the U.S. last quarter, up 74.1% from a year ago. Ford plans to release its first E-Transit commercial van in late-2021 and an all-electric F-150 pickup in 2022. 

Ford’s recent moves mirror that of other top U.S. automakers striving to compete with Tesla and other rising market players. General Motors is investing $27 billion to release 30 new EVs globally by 2025, representing 40% of its U.S. models. Similarly, Stellantis (formed out of the recent Fiat Chrysler–Groupe PSA merger) plans to launch 10 hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric models in 2021. 


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