Ford moves towards an all-electric and connected future in Europe

Ford Europe have announced another important stride towards its all-electric future. They have chosen its plant in Valencia, Spain, as the preferred site to assemble vehicles based on a next-generation electric vehicle (EV)architecture. 

Pending product approval, the Valencia plant could produce breakthrough electric and connected vehicles beginning later this decade. Ford is also moving forward with a $2 billion conversion of its Cologne, Germany, operations to begin producing electric passenger vehicles starting in 2023. 

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This is great news for Europe with sales of electric vehicles rising at a rapid rate in the last couple of years. This will provide affordable vehicles to help speed up the transition to zero-emissions motoring and provide jobs for those involved in the auto industry. 

Ford’s European strategy calls for an exciting line-up of electric vehicles including an electric version of the popular Ford Puma. Plus, the brand will be extending its leadership in the commercial segment with electric Ford Pro vehicles and connected services. By 2026, Ford in Europe plans to sell 600,000 electric vehicles annually.

Jim Farley, Ford CEO, said: “We are committed to building a vibrant, sustainable business in Europe as part of our Ford+ plan, and that requires focus and making tough choices.

“The European auto industry is extremely competitive, and to thrive and grow we can never settle for less than unbelievably great products, a delightful customer experience, ultra-lean operations and a talented and motivated team.”

Continent-wide electric vehicle sales continue to grow rapidly. There were up 65 percent to 2.3 million in 2021 and the European Parliament voted earlier this month to set new CO2 targets for light-duty vehicles. This includes a requirement that new sales be 100 percent zero emission vehicles by 2035.

Stuart Rowley, Ford Europe and chief transformation & quality officer, said: “We are accelerating our transformation in Europe, reimagining how we do business and building a future where amazing vehicles and relentless focus on customer experience goes hand-in-hand with protecting our planet.

“Bringing our all-new electric vehicle architecture to Valencia will help us build a profitable business in Europe, secure high value employment and increase Ford’s offering of premium electric, high performance, fully connected vehicles that meet the demand of our European customers.”

The decision announced today followed the conclusion of comprehensive consultations with teams in Valencia, Spain and Saarlouis, Germany. Ford’s plant in Saarlouis will continue to produce the Ford Focus passenger car, while the company is also evaluating options for future site concepts.

Ford reiterated its commitment to Germany as the headquarters of its European Model e business and the site of its first domestic European electric vehicle production. The state-of-the-art Cologne Electrification Centre will start production in late 2023.

Rowley added: “Ford is investing heavily in electric vehicle manufacturing operations in Germany and we are committed to the country as our headquarters location in Europe. We look forward to progressing this work with our partners in Germany and across the whole region. 

“To secure new product in Europe we need winning product designs, outstanding technology and engineering, optimised sourcing and an evolution of our industrial operations to ensure they are fully oriented to an electrified world.”

The next-generation architecture is a critical step in the transformation of Ford in Europe to achieve an all-electric future and build a thriving business. Ford’s plans for an all-electric future in Europe supports the global goal of two million-plus annual production of electric vehicles by 2026. 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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