Ford opens next-gen EV factory in Germany

This week, Ford opened its new EV production facility in Cologne. The move is part of the American automaker’s aim to make its entire European passenger car range fully electric by 2030.

Originally opened in 1930, Ford has spent the past two years — and $2 billion — redeveloping the facility into an EV-only manufacturing center.

The Electric Vehicle Center in Cologne will produce Ford’s next generation of electric cars, the first of which will be the electric Explorer, followed by a yet-to-be-named sports crossover.

The plant is expected to produce more than 250,000 vehicles per year, a large part of Ford’s goal of building two million electric vehicles worldwide each year by the end of 2026.

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It is being heralded as Ford’s first carbon neutral assembly plant as the company aims to achieve carbon neutrality across all of its European operations – including facilities, logistics and suppliers – by 2035.

“This facility will now be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly plants in the entire industry,” said executive chairman Bill Ford, the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, who first opened the plant more than 90 years ago. .

In addition to its sustainability credentials, the state-of-the-art EV center uses machine learning, autonomous transportation systems, robotics, and augmented reality to improve manufacturing efficiency.

“We are deploying advanced technologies to build fully connected, software-defined vehicles that meet our customers’ demand for zero-emission mobility,” said Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model e Europe.

Last year, Ford said it intends to to suggest three new electric passenger cars and four new electric commercial vehicles in Europe by 2024, and looks set to sell more than 600,000 electric vehicles in the region by 2026.

While sales of electric vehicles in Europe are reaching record levelsInevitably, Ford isn’t the only automaker to open EV mega-factories on the continent. Last year, Tesla opened its Gigafactory in Berlin, which can produce half a million electric cars a year, while Volvo is building a new electric factory in Slovakia, due to open in 2026.