The Ford plant in Cologne is currently on vacation, but there is no standstill there. The production break will be used to switch the manufacturing facilities to a new electric crossover that will start in 2023. The manufacturer is now officially announcing this.
The newcomer is likely to be the first of the two models based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, which was announced in February 2021. The car will roll off the assembly line at the Ford Cologne Electrification Center in Cologne, it was said at the time.
In March 2022, Ford showed its range of four electric passenger cars, which should be complete by 2024. It contains two crossovers, both of which will be built at the Ford Electrification Center in Cologne. The first, a medium-sized crossover, is scheduled to be presented in late 2022 and produced in 2023; it will also come onto the market in 2023. Another electric model from Cologne will follow in 2024, also a crossover.
Accordingly, the medium-size crossover is the model starting in 2023, and the sports crossover will follow in 2024. It is not known which of the two models is the side view. The silhouette with a sloping roof line suggests a coupé SUV rather than a normal SUV.
When it comes to an MEB-based coupé SUV, the VW ID.5 (and its sister models, the Audi Q4 e-Tron Sportback and Skoda Enyaq Coupé) naturally spring to mind. So one of Ford’s two MEB models could be a variant of the ID.5, the other perhaps a variant of the ID.4. The VW versions are 4.58 to 4.60 meters long, but perhaps shorter bodies are also possible. Because the Ford newcomers have to keep a respectful distance from the 4.71 meter-long Mustang Mach-E.
In any case, Ford wants to produce 1.2 million units of the two new electric models within six years, according to the manufacturer, i.e. around 100,000 units per model and year. So apparently Ford has doubled its original order of 600,000 MEB platforms after deciding on a second MEB model.
As for the conversions in Cologne, the production of the Fiesta has to be reduced to make room for the production of the new electric crossover. According to Ford, the Fiesta and the first MEB newcomer will “initially” be built side by side. This could mean that the small combustion car will no longer be produced in Cologne from 2024 (when the second electric crossover starts).
In any case, one of the two final assembly lines for the Fiesta now has to be dismantled and replaced with a line for the crossover. As the new model is larger, heavier and fully electric, changes are needed at the wedding. In this wedding production step, the battery, axles, and electric motors (from below) and the body (from above) are assembled.
Extensive modifications are also carried out in the paint shop. New processes are to be used here to save paint and energy. Since the Cologne plant has been using only regeneratively generated green electricity since 2008, these savings are not reflected in the CO2-balance noticeable.
Ford already started two new production halls for the electric crossover last summer. The building construction work is now almost complete, now the interior fittings and the installation of the production facilities follow. In total, Ford is investing almost two billion euros in the conversion of the Cologne location. This is the largest investment in the 91-year history of the Cologne Ford works.