Ford plans 7 new all-electric vehicles in Europe, joint venture to make batteries

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Monday announced some key advancements in its electrification strategy in Europe, including the introduction of seven new all-electric passenger vehicles and vans by 2024, as well as a new joint venture to boost EV battery production in the region.

The company said it now expects its annual EV sales in Europe to exceed 600,000 units in 2026 as it targets 2 million EV sales globally in that timeframe. It also reaffirmed its goal of achieving 6% operating profit margins in Europe in 2023, and a company-wide margin of 10% by 2026.

Ford Motor Co. on Monday unveiled a broader lineup of electric vehicles in Europe, including four passenger vehicles and five commercial vehicles.

Meanwhile, the automaker said it is now targeting zero emissions for all vehicle sales in Europe and carbon neutrality across its European footprint — including facilities, logistics and suppliers — by 2035.

Monday's announcements follow the news earlier this month that the Dearborn automaker will divide its legacy internal combustion engine and burgeoning electric-vehicle and software businesses into separate units within the company. The two business units join Ford Pro, the company's standalone commercial vehicle business that launched last year. 

“This is not a change in strategy," Stuart Rowley, chair of Ford of Europe, said via a recorded presentation. "This is an acceleration of our electrification plans, with the full support of the global business behind us."

The focus in Europe, he said, will be the company's electric passenger car business under Ford Model e, the new unit dedicated to electrification, and electric commercial vehicles under Ford Pro. Ford Blue, the legacy business, meanwhile, "will be the engine that powers our Ford transformation in Europe," Rowley said.

More EVs coming

Joining the all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV and E-Transit cargo van, Ford said Monday it plans to add seven new EVs to its European vehicle lineup — including three passenger vehicles and four commercial vans.

Last year, Ford sold more than 23,000 Mach-E units in Europe. This year, Rowley said, the automaker is looking to increase that by more than 60%.

Next year, Ford will launch production of an electric, five-seat, medium-sized crossover at its Cologne Electrification Center in Germany. The crossover — more details of which will be released later this year — will have a range of roughly 311 miles on a single charge. The automaker had previously confirmed that, as part of a strategic alliance it has with Volkswagen AG, the first EV coming out of Cologne will be built on a VW platform.

A second EV, a sports crossover, will be added to production lines in Cologne in 2024. With those two vehicles, EV production at that facility will increase to 1.2 million units over a six-year timeframe, Ford said. The company expects to invest about $2 billion in building those new electric passenger vehicles in Cologne, including to establish a new battery assembly facility there in 2024.

The automaker last year unveiled plans to invest $1 billion to convert the Cologne facility into an EV manufacturing center. At that time, Ford said its entire European passenger-vehicle lineup would be "zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid" by mid-2026 and all-electric by 2030, and its commercial-vehicle sales in Europe would be two-thirds all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030. 

Ford Motor Co.'s Cologne Electrification Center in Germany is slated to produce 1.2 million electric vehicles over a six-year timeframe.

Meanwhile, starting in 2024, the Ford Puma — the automaker's best-selling passenger vehicle in Europe — will have an electric option, produced in Craiova, Romania.

And on the commercial vehicle side — Ford of Europe's profit center — the automaker will add four new electric models: the all-new Transit Custom one-tonne van and Tourneo Custom multi-purpose vehicle in 2023, then the smaller, next-generation Transit Courier van and Tourneo Courier multi-purpose vehicle in 2024. 

Those models will be built in Craiova, as well. In a bid to boost EV and commercial vehicle capacity, Ford said Monday that its joint venture with Koc Holding, Ford Otosan, would (subject to regulatory approval) assume ownership of the Craiova plant and manufacturing business.

As the Craiova plant prepares to launch those vehicles, Ford will discontinue production of the EcoSport there later this year.

New battery venture

Ford also announced it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for a Turkey-based joint venture business with SK On Co., Ltd. and Koc Holding. If a final agreement is reached, the companies said they expect the venture to be one of the largest EV battery facilities for commercial vehicles in the region. 

The JV would be based near Ankara and would manufacture high Nickel NMC cells for assembly into battery array modules. It would target annual capacity of 30 to 45 gigawatt hours, with production slated to start "as early as mid-decade."

The operation would join Ford's multi-billion dollar investment in battery production, with SK Innovation, in Tennessee and Kentucky. Those three plants are slated to have about 43 gigawatt hours of battery capacity each. Overall, Ford has said it will need at least 240 gigawatt hours of capacity by 2030.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski