US automaker Ford will expand its electric ambitions in Europe by doubling its investment in Germany, installing a battery factory in Turkey and removing all emissions from its vans by 2035.
The announcement comes a week after the group split its business into battery-powered vehicles and engine models, in a global restructuring to take on electric car pioneer Tesla.
Its new plan involves making every model fully electric by 2035, extending last year’s pledge that all passenger cars and two-thirds of its vans will be electric in continental Europe and the UK by 2030.
The move, which means phasing out its diesel Transit van, ties in with its pledge last year at the COP26 summit to sell only zero-emissions vehicles in developed markets by 2035.
Ford’s entire European business, including production and logistics and the vehicles it sells, will also be carbon neutral by 2035, the company said Monday.
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The move will help establish Europe as a leader in the transition from combustion engines to electric cars. The region is the second largest for electric vehicle sales behind China.
The US group will build a gigafactory in Turkey with battery group SK and Koc Holding, which will manufacture cells for the country’s commercial vehicles.
The decision means the group is no longer considering a British site to make batteries, even though Ford last year invested £230m to make electrical parts at its Halewood facility on Merseyside.
Ford’s shift also raises questions about the long-term future of the Dagenham plant in Britain, which makes diesel engines for the Transit.
Ford Europe president Stuart Rowley said the site “will be the longest tail of the combustion engine business” and “remains a very important part of the business”.
“Everything is changing, everything is going to change, and that brings a lot of change, but we think that’s what people in Europe are demanding,” he told FT on Monday.
The company now expects to produce around 600,000 electric vehicles in Europe annually from 2026, once all of its new models are operational.
The group, which currently sells only one battery passenger car model in Europe, the Mustang Mach-E, imported from Mexico, will release seven new electric models in Europe starting next year.
This will start with the Turkish-made Transit Custom and a new small sports vehicle that will be made at the Cologne plant in Germany.
Cologne will also assemble a second electric model from 2024, with both cars using Volkswagen’s MEB electric manufacturing system.
Ford and VW have a global alliance that involves sharing several vehicle programs and technologies.
The batteries for the car will come from VW suppliers, including Northvolt in Sweden, and will be assembled at a new facility in Cologne. Ford will increase its investment in the German plant from €1 billion to €2 billion to accommodate the new line and additional vehicles, and expects to make 1.2 million battery vehicles on site over six years.
The Puma Ford, its smallest high-seat model, will offer options
from its plant in Romania starting in 2024. Ford will also hand over full control of the plant to joint venture Ford Otosan, it said on Monday.
The Romanian site will also produce electric versions of the smaller Transit Courier and passenger Tourneo Courier vans from 2024.
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