Ford to Ramp Up European Electrified Production

Ford is to ramp up its electrification strategy in the key European market with a large investment in production capacity.

On top of the pledge to pump $48M into its Valencia manufacturing plant in Spain, adding a battery assembly facility, Ford also announced two new hybrid powertrain models in the shape of the S-Max Hybrid and Galaxy. It plans two new assembly lines to boost lithium-ion battery production for use in the Kuga PHEV, Kuga Hybrid, S-Max Hybrid and Galaxy Hybrid.

Battery production will begin this year ahead of the introduction of the latest two electrified models in 2021. The automaker says it sees the large-car hybrid options as being a “compelling” alternative to the diesel-powered models that have been among those suffering a back-lash against diesel amid urban clean air concerns throughout European cities.

Production of the new self-charging hybrid models, which employ a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle gasoline engine, electric motor, generator and lithium-ion battery, is enabled by an extra $9M investment in new tooling and assembly line upgrades at Ford’s Valencia facility. A further $11M in funds will support production of the Kuga Hybrid SUV. Ford promises to introduce 14 electrified vehicles in Europe by the end of 2020.

The new models use a power-split automatic transmission and the S-Max Hybrid and Galaxy Hybrid powertrains should deliver about 195bhp plus 155ft-lbs of torque to out-sprint their diesel powered siblings and be able to claim a 3,300-lbs towing capability.

Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe, said: “With electrification fast becoming the mainstream, we are increasing our investment in Valencia to provide even more electrified models and powertrain options for our customers. By making it easier than ever to transition into an electrified vehicle, we expect the majority of our passenger vehicle sales to be electrified by the end of 2022.”

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



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