Ford commits to electric future
Friday 19th February, 2021 - 9:32am
Ford of Europe has announced it will join the growing number of car companies committing to offering only electric vehicles by the end of the decade. And it could have major implications for Ford Australia.
Ford’s European operation has announced it is aiming to only sell EVs by 2030, but will offer either all-electric or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains across all models by 2026; with its commercial vehicle range (which includes the Ranger and Transit Custom) EV or PHEV by 2024.
The company has also confirmed its first European-developed EV (following the US developed Mustang Mach-E) will go on sale in 2023. It will be based on Volkswagen’s new EV platform – known as MEB – as part of an expanding partnership between the two brands that already sees them work together on commercial vehicles.
“We successfully restructured Ford of Europe and returned to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2020,” said Stuart Rowley, Ford of Europe president. “Now we are charging into an all-electric future in Europe with expressive new vehicles and a world-class connected customer experience.”
Officially Ford Australia has no details to add to the announcement, saying it’s too early to tell what impact it will have on the local operation. However, the possible implications are significant as almost half of the local line-up is sourced from the blue oval’s European operation.
The current Fiesta ST, Focus, Puma and Escape as well as its popular Transit commercial vans are all Ford Europe products. If Ford of Europe transitions all of these to EV by the end of the decade, it will leave Ford Australia with little choice but to embrace an electric future.
While Ford of Europe hasn’t given any specific details about its 2023 EV models, the timing suggests the current Focus could be joined (or even replaced) by a new hatchback based on the Volkswagen ID.3, while the next-generation Puma and Escape will likely use the Volkswagen ID.4 platform as a starting point.
Even without making the switch to full EV the introduction of more PHEV models opens the possibility for the local operation to begin transitioning to an electrified range by the middle of the decade. Currently it’s scheduled to introduce its first electfied model, the Escape PHEV, sometime in the coming months.
The commitment to have EV or PHEV powertrains across every model also strongly hints that the next generation Ranger ute, due to arrive in 2022, will offer a hybrid option. So it’s not just the family-friendly models that will be swept up in this electric revolution.
And neither is this change limited to Ford’s European operations. While Ford USA has made such a bold statement, it’s believed to be working on expanding its EV and PHEV portfolio across the range – even the Mustang.
As we’re reported previously, Ford is believed to be preparing a new hero Mustang with a pair of electric motors to combine with a V8 engine to keep the iconic pony car competitive in an increasingly electrified market.