Ford Opens High-Tech Electric Vehicle Centre in Germany to Meet Growing European Demand

Ford Opens High-Tech Electric Vehicle Centre in Germany to Meet Growing European Demand

Ford unveiled its new Ford Electric Vehicle Center today in Cologne, Germany, a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that will produce the next generation of Ford electric cars for millions of European customers.

Transforming its historic Niehl plant in Cologne, which was first established in 1930, Ford’s $2 billion investment represents a significant commitment to supporting skilled German jobs and the future of automotive manufacturing in Europe.

Spanning 125 hectares, the facility has been designed for high efficiency and is equipped with an entirely new production line, battery assembly, and cutting-edge tools and automation, enabling an annual production capacity of over 250,000 electric vehicles. Following the success of models such as the Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit, and F-150 Lightning, Ford recently introduced its fourth electric vehicle to the world, the electric Explorer, which will be the first electric vehicle manufactured in Cologne, followed by a second electric vehicle, a sporty crossover.

The Cologne electric vehicle plant will be the first assembly facility of Ford worldwide to be carbon-neutral, aligning with the company’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality across its European footprint, including facilities, logistics, and direct suppliers, by 2035.

“The opening of the Cologne EV Center marks the beginning of a new era of clean production and electromobility in Europe,” said Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company. “This facility will now be one of the most efficient and sustainable in the entire industry. I am thrilled that we can continue working towards emission-free futures for our children and grandchildren.”

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated, “The Cologne EV Center represents a new beginning and is the largest investment in the history of Ford’s factory in Cologne. It is good news for Cologne, for the automotive industry in Germany, for e-mobility, and for the new era of the automotive industry.”

From Model A to the New Electric Explorer: Ford’s New Era in Europe

The opening of the EV Center in Cologne is the latest chapter in the long history of the Ford Cologne plant, which has been the heart of the European automotive industry since 1930. Iconic vehicles manufactured at this plant include the Ford Model A, Taunus, Capri, Granada, and Fiesta.

The Ford Cologne plant, which has produced more than 18 million vehicles, has been one of Ford’s most efficient plants worldwide for over 90 years, providing mobility to millions of Europeans across generations.

“The Cologne Center for Electric Vehicles signifies the beginning of a new era for the Ford brand in Europe,” said Martin Sander, Managing Director of Ford Model E Europe. “We are redefining automobile production by introducing advanced technologies for the production of fully connected, software-defined vehicles that meet our customers’ requirements for emission-free mobility.”

At the core of the Cologne EV Center are digital capabilities that connect machines, vehicles, and workers. The implementation of self-learning machines, autonomous transport systems, and real-time big data management are integral to improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes, which will continue to evolve over time, ensuring high quality.

Ford is also taking steps to support, rather than replace, human expertise. New cognitive and collaborative robots, along with augmented reality solutions, will assist its employees, enhancing efficiency and facilitating real-time data exchange with other plants to enable the sharing of experiences.

Carbon-Neutral Manufacturing Plant

To achieve carbon neutrality, Ford will reduce energy consumption and emissions at the facility by installing new processes, machinery, and technologies. All electricity and natural gas needed to operate the plant will be carbon-neutral, sourced from 100% certified renewable electricity and biogas.

The heat required for heating the plant and processes will be carbon-neutral as the local energy

supplier will offset the relevant emissions from the assembly plant on behalf of Ford. Heat will be generated by an external power plant and waste incineration, and Ford will receive it through a dedicated steam network.

The local energy provider plans to reduce its operational emissions for this heat supply by approximately 60% by 2026 and eliminate these emissions entirely by 2035. Once fully operational, the Ford Cologne EV Center will be independently certified as carbon-neutral. This independent certification will be regularly verified.

The technological modernization of the Ford Cologne EV Center is accompanied by ecological enhancements to biodiversity and the ecological balance of the existing plant greenery. Measures implemented include new perennial herbaceous vegetation, transforming ecologically poor grassy areas into meadows with wildflowers, and installing insect hotels as well as bat and bird habitats.

“The carbon-neutral Ford Cologne EV Center sets a leading example for the automotive industry in transitioning from traditional automobile production to electric vehicle manufacturing,” concluded Sander. “The facilities and processes have been designed by our engineers to maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impact, helping Ford become carbon-neutral in Europe and supporting our global decarbonization plan.”

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