Ford will invest an additional £150 million in its Halewood factory as it scales up the historic UK facility’s involvement in its European electrification strategy.
The firm confirmed last year that it would convert the gearbox plant to an electric powertrain plant by 2024. The new investment raises the total cost to £380m.
The cash injection announced today means planned production of electric drive units at the plant will almost double, from 250,000 per year to 420,000.
In other words, the plant will supply 70% of the 600,000 EVs Ford aims to sell in Europe annually by 2026.
This also safeguards the jobs of 500 staff working at Halewood, who are currently learning to produce prototype motors at Ford’s E:Prime facility, assisted by the UK government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre.
Ford UK chairman Tim Slatter said: “Our UK workforce is playing a major role in Ford’s all-electric future, demonstrated by Halewood’s pivot to a new zero-emission powertrain and E:Prime’s innovation at Dunton in finalising the production processes.”
Powertrains produced at Halewood will be shipped to Romania and Turkey, where crucial vehicles such as the upcoming Ford E-Transit Custom – the electric version of the UK’s best-selling van – will be assembled.
Ford’s ambitious electrification goals mean its European car fleet will be all-electric by 2030, with vans (under the Ford Pro banner) following five years later.
Ford of Europe boss Stuart Rowley said in March: “Let me assure you these products will absolutely look like Fords, drive like Fords and the experiences that we provide will give customers unique purchase and ownership experiences.”
Ford previously announced a joint venture with South Korean battery company SK On and Koç Holding to establish a battery plant in Turkey. This is set to be one of Europe’s largest commercial vehicle production facilities.
The American manufacturer aims for all its European facilities, logistics and suppliers to be carbon-neutral by 2035, with measures including the installation of renewable energy sources and the use of electric trains.