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Ford ready to ramp up European EV production with new £1.6bn facility

Ford has said its new $2 billion (£1.6bn) Electric Vehicle Centre in Cologne signals the start of a new era for the brand in Europe.

The 125-hectare site is equipped with a new production line, battery assembly and new tooling and automation features, enabling an annual production capacity of over 250,000 EVs.

Following the Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit and F-150 Lightning, Ford recently unveiled its fourth EV globally, the electric Explorer, which will be the first EV to be produced in Cologne, followed by a second electric vehicle, a sports crossover.

The Cologne EV Center will be Ford’s first carbon neutral assembly plant to open globally and supports the company’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality across its entire European footprint of facilities, logistics and direct suppliers by 2035.

Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model e Europe, said the new facility signals “the start of a new era for Ford in Europe”.

He said: “We are once again redefining auto manufacturing, implementing advanced technologies to build fully connected, software-defined vehicles that meet our customers’ demand for zero emission mobility.”

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How can a car factory be carbon neutral?

To achieve carbon neutrality, Ford will reduce the use of energy and emissions in the plant by the installation of new processes, machinery, and technologies.

All electricity and natural gas required to operate the facility is carbon neutral based on being 100% certified renewable electricity and biomethane.

The heat required to warm the facility and processes is carbon neutral, as the local energy provider will offset the corresponding emissions from the assembly plant on behalf of Ford. 

The heat is generated by an external power plant and waste incineration plant and provided through a dedicated steam network to Ford.

The local energy provider plans to reduce their operating emissions for this heat delivery by approximately 60% in 2026 and then eliminate these emissions completely by 2035.

Once fully operational, Ford Cologne’s EV Centre will be independently certified as carbon neutral.

This independent certification will be audited and reconciled on a regular basis against purchasing high quality carbon offsets for any remaining emissions.

The technological upgrade of the Ford Cologne EV Centre is accompanied by an ecological improvement of biodiversity and the ecological balance of the existing factory greenspace.

Installed measures include a new perennial forb vegetation, change of ecologically poor grass areas to wildflower meadows and insect hotels as well as bat and bird habitats.

“The carbon neutral Cologne EV Centre is a leading automotive industry showcase for the switch from traditional auto manufacturing to electric vehicle production,” concluded Sander. 

“The facilities and processes have been designed by our engineers to maximise efficiency and minimise environmental impact, helping Ford become carbon neutral in Europe and supporting our global decarbonisation plan.”

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