Ford has said its entire range of passenger vehicles will be fully electric in the EU and UK by 2030.
While the US automaker only began delivering its first purpose-built electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E (pictured), in late December, it says by mid-2026 it plans for all its vehicles to be “zero-emissions capable” which means hybrid engines will be included at a minimum.
By the end of 2021, it plans to have launched 16 new hybrid and electric vehicles in the UK under its different brands.
To reach its lofty goals, which it now has less than a decade to achieve, Ford will invest $22bn (£16bn) in developing EV technology over the next four years, nearly twice its previous investment plans.
With Tesla recently becoming the most highly valued automaker in the world, despite not even cracking the top 10 in terms of units sold, it is clear which way the wind is blowing in the sector. Just last month, General Motors announced plans to become carbon-neutral by 2040 and eliminate exhaust emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.
The new directions taken by the firms follow recent announcements such as the UK’s decision to ban new diesel and petrol cars by 2030 and expectations that the EU will make similar moves shortly.
Nevertheless, Ford stopped short of setting a date for when it will stop selling diesel-fuelled commercial vehicles, or other types of vehicle outside of the European continent. Spearheading Ford’s electric plans is a new $1bn (£720m) investment to modernise its vehicle assembly facility in Cologne, Germany. The investment will transform the existing vehicle assembly operations into the Ford Cologne Electrification Centre for the manufacture of electric vehicles.
Ford also confirmed that its first European-built, volume all-electric passenger vehicle for European customers will be produced at the facility from 2023, with the potential for a second all-electric vehicle built there under consideration.
“We successfully restructured Ford of Europe and returned to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2020. Now we are charging into an all-electric future in Europe with expressive new vehicles and a world-class connected customer experience,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe. “Our announcement today to transform our Cologne facility, the home of our operations in Germany for 90 years, is one of the most significant Ford has made in over a generation. It underlines our commitment to Europe and a modern future with electric vehicles at the heart of our strategy for growth.”
Ford closed its engine factory in Bridgend, South Wales, with the loss of 1,700 jobs in September last year after the UK’s car sector saw record declines driven by a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.
Unite national officer Des Quinn urged the manufacturer to place new investment in the UK. He said: “The dedicated UK workforce has suffered closures and job losses in recent years to help reshape the company and they now need to be rewarded for that loyalty, especially given the enormous value of the UK market to Ford’s operations.”
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