Originally Published: Feb 17, 2021, 10:49am EST
Ford will only sell electric vehicles in Europe by 2030, it said Wednesday. The automaker said it will spend $1 billion to convert its factory in Cologne, Germany, into its first EV production line on the continent.
Ford says it will transition to EV-production gradually over the next decade. By 2024, the company’s entire commercial vehicle lineup will be “zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid.” By mid-2026, Ford says “100 percent” of its passenger vehicle lineup will be the same. And by 2030, Ford expects two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid, while all of its passenger vehicles sold will be pure battery-electric.
The news comes on the heels of Ford announcing that it would increase its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $29 billion. The automaker had previously committed to spend $11.5 billion on electrifying its vehicle lineup through 2022. Now, it will spend double that amount, while extending the timeline to 2025.
Ford will have help in its plans to electrify its vehicle lineup. In 2019, the company struck a deal with Volkswagen to use the German auto giant’s electric-vehicle modular electric vehicle platform. VW’s MEB platform will serve as the basis for 15 million electric cars the automaker aims to sell. And Ford has said it will use the platform to design and build at least one high-volume fully electric vehicle in Europe starting in 2023.
Ford aims to deliver more than 600,000 European vehicles using the MEB architecture over six years, with a second all-new Ford model for European customers under discussion. The move would help Ford comply with European government mandates that push electrified vehicles and strict emissions standards.
Numerous European countries have set out targets for banning traditional gas-powered cars and vans, with Norway aiming for 2025 and France and the UK for 2040 and 2050, respectively. (Granted, the legislation for actually mandating the bans lags far behind.) Several states in the US are also making aggressive targets, with California leading the pack, vowing to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
Ford’s effort to speed up its electrification plans is meant to convince those on Wall Street who have been jittery about the company’s ability to catch up to Tesla, which has been the only automaker to successfully build an EV business over the last few years. Ford is keeping pace with other legacy automakers like GM and Volkswagen, having just begun delivering its hotly anticipated Mustang Mach-E to customers late last year — though a quality review issue delayed hundreds of additional deliveries last month.
Ford isn’t even the only carmaker to greatly increase its bet on electric. Late last year, GM said it would spend $27 billion on electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025 — up from the $20 billion it announced before the COVID-19 pandemic. GM has also said it would transition to electric vehicles only by 2040.