This week Ford opened its new production facility for electric vehicles in Cologne. The move is part of the American automaker’s effort to make its entire European car lineup all-electric by 2030.
Originally opened in 1930, Ford has spent the past two years — and $2 billion — investing in converting the plant into an all-electric vehicle manufacturing center.
The Cologne Electric Vehicle Center will produce Ford’s next-generation electric vehicles. The first of these will be the electric Explorer, followed by a sports crossover whose name is not yet known.
The plant is expected to produce over 250,000 vehicles per year, a big part of Ford’s goal of building two million electric vehicles worldwide each year by the end of 2026.
Since 1931 we have built almost 18 million vehicles in our assembly plant in Cologne. Today it officially reopens as the Ford Cologne Electric Vehicle Center, our first carbon neutral assembly plant in the world. The start of a new electric era for @Ford in Europe. #CologneEVCenter pic.twitter.com/6aUH3ic2Jq
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) June 12, 2023
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It is believed to be Ford’s first zero-carbon assembly plant as the company aims to achieve net-zero emissions across its European operations, including facilities, logistics and suppliers, by 2035.
“This facility will now be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly facilities in the industry,” said CEO Bill Ford, great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, who first dedicated the facility more than 90 years ago.
In addition to its sustainability skills, the “state-of-the-art” EV center uses machine learning, autonomous transportation systems, robotics and augmented reality to increase production efficiencies.
“We are implementing advanced technologies to build fully connected, software-defined vehicles that meet our customers’ demand for zero-emission mobility,” he said Martin Sander, General Manager of Ford Model e Europe.
Last year Ford announced that this was planned introduce By 2024, three new electric passenger cars and four new electric commercial vehicles will be launched in Europe and by 2026 more than 600,000 electric vehicles will be sold in the region.
As EV sales increase in Europe record valuesInevitably, Ford isn’t the only automaker opening electric vehicle mega-factories on the continent. Last year, Tesla opened its Berlin Gigafactory, capable of producing half a million electric vehicles a year, while Volvo is building a new electric vehicle production facility in Slovakia, which is set to open in 2026.