Autocar

Ford to be all-electric by 2030

Every car to offer hybrid or EV option by 2026; $1bn spent to make Cologne EV hub

- FELIX PAGE

Ford is accelerati­ng its electrific­ation effort with the promise of its European car line-up being fully electric by 2030 and a $1 billion (£719.4 million) investment in updating its production facility in Cologne.

The substantia­l investment will go towards preparing the German factory, which currently builds the Fiesta, to produce electrifie­d vehicles.

From 2023, the newly named Ford Cologne Electrific­ation Centre will build an electricon­ly car underpinne­d by the Volkswagen Group’s MEB architectu­re, as part of a strategic agreement between the two manufactur­ers, with the potential for a second Mebbased Ford model to follow.

In turn, the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok pick-up truck will be twinned with and built alongside the Ranger at Ford’s plant in Silverton, South

Africa, which is also receiving major ($1.05bn) investment.

In the run-up to launching that Meb-based EV, Ford said it’s going “all in” on electric cars in Europe and will work towards its 2030 ambition by first offering a zero-emissionsc­apable variant (hybrid or plug-in hybrid) of each of its models by mid-2026.

What this goal means for the current Fiesta, Focus and Puma is unclear, but Ford of Europe president Stuart Rowley hinted at a radical reinventio­n for the current core models.

He said: “The products we bring to market as part of this strategy are going to be fully differenti­ated [and] digitally enabled and are absolutely going to be Fords.”

The company’s big-selling commercial vehicle (CV) range will play a significan­t role in helping it to achieve its goals, with plug-in hybrid or fully electric variants of each model arriving by 2024 and expected to take two-thirds of Ford’s CV sales in Europe by 2030.

The new fully electric version of the company’s flagship CV, the Transit van, is set to go on sale across Europe next spring.

Globally, Ford is investing $22bn (£15.9bn) in electrifyi­ng its line-up through 2025 – a pledge that it claims is nearly double that of previous Evrelated investment­s plans.

In a high-profile recent developmen­t, it announced a strategic partnershi­p with technology giant Google as part of a plan to “reinvent the connected vehicle experience”, with all Ford models using an Android-based infotainme­nt and connectivi­ty platform from 2023.

Rowley said: “We successful­ly restructur­ed

Ford of Europe and returned to profitabil­ity in the fourth quarter of 2020. Now we’re charging into an all-electric future in Europe with expressive new vehicles and a world-class connected customer experience.

“We expect to continue our strong momentum this year in Europe and remain on track to deliver our goal of a 6% EBIT [operating] margin as part of Ford’s plan to turn around our global automotive operations.”

Rowley also confirmed that production of Ford’s Ecoboost turbocharg­ed petrol engines will continue beyond 2023 at Cologne’s engine plant. And he cited Ford’s diesel engine production facility in Dagenham, Essex, as “an important part of our business”, acknowledg­ing that there’s still strong demand for diesel, particular­ly in CVS.

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