Ford joins motor industry race to all-electric future
Written by Gavin on 17th February 2021
Ford has announced its entire passenger range in Europe will be all-electric by the end of the decade.
The motor giant also said its commercial models would be 100% zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2024.
The move comes after Ford reported a return to profit in Europe in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The firm said it was investing at least $22bn (£15.8bn) globally in electrification to 2025, nearly twice the company’s previous investment plans.
Ford of Europe president Stuart Rowley said: “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.”
The company’s plans include a $1bn cash boost to modernise its vehicle assembly facility in Cologne, Germany.
The investment will transform the existing operation for the manufacture of electric vehicles, Ford’s first such facility in Europe.
Ford confirmed that its first European-built, volume all-electric passenger would be produced at the site from 2023.
Speaking to Sky News’ Ian King Live programme, Mr Rowley said Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex, which is responsible for the design and engineering of its commercial vehicles, would be “contributing strongly” and playing as leading role in the electrification of the range.
“So we don’t produce vehicles, but it is a very important part of our overall operation,” he said.
Mr Rowley added: “The European region is really leading the way in the electrification of our industry and obviously as we invest heavily, not only Ford but the entire industry, as part of that we will be bringing down costs as we establish scale.”
But he indicated that further job losses could be in the pipeline with the shift to electrification.
He said: “It’s obviously a huge transition for Ford and the entire industry as we move from conventional powertrains, engine transmissions to battery, so we have worked very closely with our social partners… to manage that transition in an appropriate way.”
He added: “We will continue to resize our operations. We would expect to see some continued descaling in our European operations as we make this transition.”
Mr Rowley would not be drawn on a figure but pointed out that over the last two years Ford’s workforce in Europe had been reduced by around 20% or 10,000 people.
Earlier this week, Jaguar Land Rover committed to keep all three of its British plants open in the drive for all its models to be fully electric by 2030.
The firm, owned by India’s Tata Motors, said the Jaguar brand would lead the way with a complete electric vehicle range by 2025.
The plans come as car groups worldwide pursue zero-emission strategies to meet strict CO2 emission targets.
A number of countries have also announced bans on new fossil-fuel vehicle sales.
Boris Johnson, who welcomed the company’s commitment in a tweet on Monday evening,confirmed last year that sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans would be phased out by 2030, as part of his 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”.
In November, luxury car brand Bentley Motors, owned by Germany’s Volkswagen, said its model range would be fully electric by 2030.
Last month, General Motors Co said it aimed to have a zero-emission line-up by 2035.
By IRN/SKY News for GTFM