American auto giant Ford will sell only all-electric cars in Europe from 2030 with a transition period from mid-2026 which will see only pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on sale – and no non-pluggable hybrids that are favoured by Australia’s federal government.
The pledge, which forms part of a $US22 billion ($A28 billion) commitment to electrification over the next five years, will see it inject $US1 billion ($A1.3 billion) into a new electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Cologne, France at which it intends to start making EVs by 2023.
As with many carmakers, 2020 was a challenging year for Ford. After a difficult year, it reported a return to profit in the fourth quarter of 2020, and also the decision to double down on electrification.
Spearheading its push into electrification are models like the Mach-E, in which Ford has taken pains to ensure it does not alienate its muscle-car-loving audience, and an electric version of its F-150 ute (or pickup).
The new announcement does not make clear which electric models Ford will introduce in Europe, but it does include a goal to sell a “zero-emissions capable” (that is, all-electric or plug-in hybrid) version of every commercial vehicle on offer by 2024, which would account for two-thirds of sales by 2030.
In addition to the above-mentioned plans, Ford will also delve further into its Volkswagen alliance via the Ford Otosan joint venture. In 2020 the Turkey-based venture began building an electric vehicle battery factory that will complement its plug-in hybrid Ford Custom and all-electric e-Transit van assembly lines in that country.
While the pledge to transition in Europe is commendable, it must be noted that as with other carmakers the decision to go all-electric in Europe is very much a prudent one as it seeks to avoid paying fines to the EU if they do not meet strict vehicle emissions regulations that stipulate a fleet average limit of 95 gram CO2 emitted per kilometre.
Commentators also point out that Ford’s European sales are just a fraction of its sales globally, in particular in the US.
While Ford sold more than a million vehicles in 2017 in Europe, this dropped to a mere 654,000 in 2020 according to Statista as the pandemic took its toll.
By contrast, Ford sold 2 billion vehicles in the US in 2020, and EPA data shows the carmaker’s US-based emissions increased between 2014-2019 even with modest reductions in fuel economy.
Nice to see Ford commit to a 100% EV passenger fleet in Europe
BUT it sells far more cars/trucks in the US, with some of the worst CO2/mile of any oem👇
It even managed to do WORSE from 2014–>2019
— Not_an_Analyst (@facts_tesla) February 17, 2021
In Australia, where Ford comes in number four in auto sales, it sold 60,000 vehicles in 2020, and we can’t count on seeing all-electric Ford models like the Mach-E here any time soon: first, Ford Australia has previously told The Driven it will focus on its new combustion engine line-up that will, by the end of 2021, include a plug-in hybrid Escape.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.