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Ford poised for huge EV investment in Halewood

Ford is said to be within weeks of making a decision on a substantial investment to switch its Halewood plant in Merseyside to making electric transmissions.

Ford has already spearheaded its plans to go fully electric with a $1bn investment in a new electric vehicle manufacturing centre in Cologne

The move has been reported by Sky News and would reinforce Ford’s plans to go all-electric in Europe by 2030 for passenger vehicles.

Sky News cited comments from industry sources that Ford was in talks with officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) yesterday (23 September) about the proposals to build a new eTrans system at Halewood – the site was previously operated as a 50/50 JV with Germany company Magna PT and Ford took full control of it earlier this year.

Ford has already spearheaded its plans to go fully electric with a $1bn (€828.7m / £721.2m) investment in a new electric vehicle manufacturing centre in Cologne – its first European-built, volume all-electric passenger vehicle for European customers is planned to roll off the lines in Cologne starting in 2023, with the potential for a second all-electric vehicle to be built there.

Ford investment in Halewood to ramp up for EVs would be regarded as a feather in the cap of the UK’s Road to Zero ambitions and would come on the back of other recent OEM commitments to EV production in the UK.

Vauxhall parent firm Stellantis announced in July 2021 that it’s investing £100m to turn Ellesmere Port into its first dedicated electric vehicle manufacturing site, safeguarding the plant’s future.

And Nissan revealed in the same month that it is to transform its Sunderland plant into a flagship Electric Vehicle Hub that will build its new-generation electric crossover and encompass a new gigafactory, under a £1bn scheme.

Responding to the reports about Ford and Halewood, Lex Vehicle Leasing said we must see more commitments like this if we are serious about an EV future.

Meryem Brassington, electrification propositions lead at Lex Autolease, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “If the UK is to lead the electrification charge, government departments and industry bodies must continue to work together to ensure that Britain remains the most attractive place for electric vehicles to be developed.

“The impending decision by Ford is the latest in a string of manufacturing shifts to the UK this year, bringing renewed impetus for the country’s Road to Zero policy and helping to ensure more vehicles on the roads are genuinely sustainable ahead of the 2030 petrol and diesel ban.”

Commenting on the reports, a spokesperson for Ford said: “Ford is going ‘all-in’ on electrification, with 100% of our passenger vehicles being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales expected to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030. We will provide more details about the actions we are taking to strengthen further our electrification plans across Europe at the appropriate time but have nothing further to add today.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.