Ford Boosts UK BEV Powertrain Production

Ford is boosting its BEV capabilities in the UK by increasing its investment in the Halewood plant by $152M.

The move bolsters its Merseyside facility in the country’s Northwest increasing capacity by 70% plus $29M in the supporting E:PRiME product development center. This takes the automaker’s total investment in enabling the factory’s transformation to an EV component plant to almost $462M.

Ford’s decision will accelerate the plant’s move from currently producing ICE powertrains in a bid to raise its target of 250,000 BEV units a year from 2024 to 420,000. It also means that 70% of the 600,000 EVs, which Ford will sell in Europe a year by 2026, will be powered by the Halewood-produced technology.  Ford’s EV push in Europe supports the acceleration of the company’s global plan for two million annual production of EVs in the same 2026 time frame.

The plant’s E:PRiME center, at Ford’s Dunton product development HQ, is building prototypes of the electric power unit and training Halewood employees in its machining and assembly, assisted by the Advanced Propulsion Center.  The power unit, comprising edrive motor and gearbox, replaces the engine and transmission of a conventional engine vehicle by propelling an EV using battery energy.

Halewood’s power units will deliver to vehicle assembly lines at Ford Otosan plants in Romania and Turkey, making up a significant share of Ford UK’s annual export value from the Merseyside plant, as well as Dagenham, currently worth $2.55Bn annually. The latest investment, which includes UK government support from UK Export Finance, through their Export Development Guarantee, will help safeguard the 500 high-value Ford jobs at Halewood and upskill them for Ford’s EV future.

Kieran Cahill, Ford’s European Industrial Operations vice-president, said: “Ford is a global American brand, woven into the fabric of Europe for more than 100 years and a major employer here at Halewood for almost 60 years. Our vision in Europe is to build a thriving business, by extending leadership in commercial vehicles and through the electrification of our car range.  Halewood is playing a critical part as our first in-house investment in EV component manufacturing in Europe.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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