From Model T to all-EV: Ford commits to electric-only cars in Europe by 2030
113 years since the Ford Model T became the first mass-produced car, it seems appropriate that the company’s modern day successors should still be pioneers within the industry. From their headquarters in Cologne, Ford announced on February 17th that their entire range of new passenger vehicles in Europe will be completely all-electric by 2030.
In the interim, Ford says their entire range of passenger cars in Europe will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2026. In Europe, Ford’s non-passenger vehicles are heading in a similar direction as their entire commercial range will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2024.
Globally, Ford expects two-thirds of their commercial vehicle range will be all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030. The car manufacturing giant has committed to investing $22bn globally by 2025 to facilitate the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), a sum representing a doubling of their investment in EVs over the preceding five years.
Ford also announced that their European operations have returned to profit in the fourth quarter of 2020 after a major restructuring programme. The commitment to EVs will see a $1bn investment to modernise their assembly works in Cologne which they consider the “home of Ford of Europe”. The plant will be transformed into the Ford Cologne Electrification Centre (illustrated above), a state-of-the-art facility which “offers a long-term prospective for our employees and at the same time encourages them to help shape this electric future”.
Ford has long since dominated the commercial vehicle market in the US and Europe. In 2020, Ford’s share of new car registrations in Europe was about 5% and, like all other manufacturers, was adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
The new bullish response to investment in EVs mirrors the trend across the sector with Jaguar Land Rover announcing recently that their top-of-the-range cars would be electric-only by 2025. General Motors are looking towards an entirely zero-emission fleet by 2035.
Sales of EVs have increased in all geographical regions over the last few years and with renewed commitment to reductions in carbon emissions being announced by governments everywhere, there is an economic imperative on car manufacturers to follow suit. Recently, Norway signalled their intent to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2025 and the trickle-down impact of this commitment has led to sales of EVs exceeding those of cars powered by petrol, diesel and hybrid engines in 2020.
Ford is also buying into the concept of sustainability with 11 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals featuring in their Sustainability Report published last summer. The company was awarded a World Environment Centre gold medal in 2020 for International Achievement in Sustainable Development.