Ford Europe has announced that it will turn its facility in Halewood, United Kingdom into a center building components for battery-electric vehicles. This £230 ($315.6 million) investment is the latest in the Blue Oval’s global electrification offensive. The Halewood site currently builds transmissions and will transition to making power units for EVs in mid-2024. This site was formerly part of the Getrag Ford Transmissions, a partnership between Ford and Magna that built gearboxes for over 20 years.
Production capacity is expected to be at 250,000 units per year. The U.K. Government’s Automotive Transformation Fund will be part of this investment and safeguard current jobs at the Halewood plant. “This is an important step, marking Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe,” said Stuart Rowley, President of Ford Europe. “It further strengthens our ability to deliver 100 percent of Ford passenger vehicles in Europe being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.”
Ford chose the Halewood plant because of its record for quality, competitiveness, and a strong employee skills base and commitment. The power units that will be built there replace the engine and transmission in internal combustion vehicles. That means the facility will build everything from the inverters to batteries and electric motors.
The Halewood plant will be the latest Ford manufacturing facility to get transformed into a site supporting its electrification offensive. Its first was the assembly plant in Cologne, which is also the home of Ford’s European operations and its largest manufacturing center. A $1 billion investment intends to make that location a large EV manufacturing hub called the Ford Cologne Electrification Center. It will build the brand’s mass-market passenger vehicles with the first scheduled to roll off the line in 2023.
Earlier this year, Ford also announced that it will build the E-Transit in Turkey starting in 2022. The Ford Otosan joint venture will produce the next generation Transit Custom starts in 2023, which will also be available as an EV in its facility in Kocaeli, Turkey. Ford’s assembly plant in Craiova, Romania will also build a new light commercial vehicle in 2024 that will also be offered with an all-electric powertrain.
Ford is one of a handful of automakers that have gone all-in on electrification and its actions show that it’s serious. In addition to the facilities in Europe, the company is also pushing hard on electrification in North America. The F-150 Lightning and E-Transit, both of which will be made in existing plants in Michigan and Missouri respectively. It has also announced a new manufacturing facility called Blue Oval City that will be built in Tennessee plus a large battery production plant in Kentucky operated by BlueOvalSK, the joint venture between Ford and South Korea’s SK Innovation.
This year, Ford also announced a slew of new future products for it and luxury arm Lincoln, all of them electrified in some form. The latter’s first all-electric model arrives in 2024, joining its two plug-in hybrids the Aviator Grand Touring and Corsair Grand Touring. Ford is expected to add a hybrid version of the Bronco and introduce two new platforms specifically for battery-electric applications. An all-electric Bronco and Explorer are also reportedly in the cards since Ford aims to electrify its “iconic” products first.