Ford Motor Co. raised another challenge for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers on Wednesday. It announced that every single vehicle that rolls off its European assembly lines would be all-electric by 2030. The company says the move is the most direct route to sustain profitability.
Automakers continue to plan for an all-electric future. Earlier this week, President Biden added a new governmental buy-in to the shift by ordering the federal government’s gas-powered fleet be swapped out for electric vehicles.
The U.S. government is also attempting to reform an automotive incentive program by offering a $7,000 tax credit to consumers who purchase an EV. The consumer market seems primed for this shift. Recently, automotive publisher Edmunds said electric vehicle sales could double in 2021.
One step at a time
Automakers from around the world have stepped up to the EV challenge. Ford is no different than GM, BMW, VW, Hyundai, or Mercedes-Benz when it comes to giving advance notice -- sometimes by several years -- about its intentions with more sustainable models.
In Europe, Ford will be up against Jaguar/Range Rover -- an automaker it used to own -- that also announced plans to cover the European market with all-electric vehicles by 2030. The X factor is time and efficiency, and Ford realizes that getting to the all-EV future requires taking measured baby steps, not hype and chest-thumping.
The first thing the company did was put its money where its mouth is. In 2020, the company announced that it was investing at least $22 billion globally in electrification over the next four years, nearly doubling the company’s previous EV investment plans.
Multi-year rollout plan
Ford is jump-starting its all-EV initiative with a $1 billion investment in a new electric vehicle manufacturing center in Cologne, Germany. The location is where consumers will see the first of Ford’s labors in 2023 with the “company’s first European-built, volume all-electric passenger vehicle for European customers.”
The next step Ford has planned is for “zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrids.” It hopes to hit that mark by 2024 for commercial vehicles and by mid-2026 for passenger vehicles.
At that point, the company feels confident that it can hit its 2030 all-electric goal for passenger vehicles. However, it left the door slightly open for the complete conversion of commercial vehicle buyers from gas to electric, saying that two-thirds of commercial vehicle sales are “expected” to be all-electric or plug-in hybrids by 2030.
Moving towards an all-electric future
Becoming king of the hill in the all-EV commercial vehicle market is a key component of Ford’s plans. For six years running, it’s led commercial vehicle sales in Europe and says its commercial vehicle business is key to its European profitability. To achieve that goal, the company has decided it can’t go it alone and says it’s working with a broad network of commercial vehicle converter partners, including Volkswagen and Ford Otosan, a Turkish automaker it co-owns.
“We successfully restructured Ford of Europe and returned to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2020. Now we are charging into an all-electric future in Europe with expressive new vehicles and a world-class connected customer experience,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe.
“We expect to continue our strong momentum this year in Europe and remain on track to deliver our goal of a six percent EBIT margin as part of Ford’s plan to turnaround our global automotive operations.”