Ford is debuting. Its historic Niehl plant in Cologne (Germany), founded in 1930, has opened its new Ford Electric Vehicle Center. From here will come the new generation electric vehicles of the Oval brand for the European market.
It is an advanced electrification center, a high-tech production center that will also require qualified jobs. Ford has allocated an investment of 2,000 million dollars (1,852 million euros) for this new 125-hectare center, which includes “a new production line, a battery assembly area, and state-of-the-art automation systems.”
In this new production center, we will find digital applications that connect machines, workers, and vehicles, with self-learning machines, autonomous transport systems, cognitive and collaborative robots, and augmented reality solutions… «Steps to support, not replace, human excellence », Ford says.
Target 2 million electric cars at Ford per year
The production capacity of this new Ford Electric Vehicle Center will be 250,000 electric cars per year: the first will be the new 100% electric Ford Explorer, which will be followed by a new sports crossover with identical technology, and which will be added to the Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit, and F-150 Lightning are already on sale.
Ford’s new facilities in Cologne also have the particularity of being Ford’s first carbon-neutral plant: the brand will reduce the plant’s energy use and emissions through new processes, machinery, and technologies, with certified renewable electricity and biomethane to 100%.
The local energy supplier will also offset its corresponding emissions on Ford’s behalf, in addition to reducing its operational emissions from this heat supply by 60% by 2026 and completely by 2035.
The Ford plant in Cologne, with almost 100 years of history, has produced more than 18 million vehicles since 1930. The brand’s objective is to reach the figure of two million electric cars produced by the end of 2026, something to which this new Center will contribute greatly.
“It is the beginning of a new era for emission-free manufacturing and electric vehicles in Europe. Starting today, this plant will be one of the most efficient and environmentally responsible in the industry,” said Bill Ford, Ford CEO.
For his part, Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model E in Europe, said: “We are redefining car manufacturing again, implementing advanced technologies to build fully connected and software-defined vehicles that meet the demand for zero-emission mobility from our clients”.