Ford has opened the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center, a hi-tech production facility in Germany and the automaker’s first carbon neutral vehicle assembly plant globally.
With annual production capacity of 250,000+ EVs, the facility will build Ford’s new generation of electric passenger vehicles for European customers.
Founded in 1930, the historic plant in Niehl, Cologne built such iconic vehicles as the Ford Model A, Taunus, Capri, Granada, and Fiesta. The company transformed the manufacturing facility — as part of a $2 billion investment, to support its commitment to reach carbon neutrality across its entire European footprint of facilities, logistics and direct suppliers by 2035.
Explorer SUV First on Production Line
The 125-hectare site is equipped with a new production line, battery assembly and state-of-the-art tooling and automation. Ford’s Explorer SUV will be first electric vehicle produced in Cologne, followed by a second electric vehicle, a sports crossover.
“Opening the Cologne EV Center is the start of a new generation of clean manufacturing and electric vehicles in Europe,” said Bill Ford, Ford executive chair. “This facility will now be one of the most efficient and environmentally responsible plants in the entire industry. I am thrilled to continue working toward a zero emissions future for our children and grandchildren.”
Federal Chancellor, Olaf Scholz said, "The Electric Vehicle Center represents a fresh start and is the largest investment in the company's history at the Ford plant in Cologne. This is good news for Cologne, for the auto industry in Germany, for e-mobility and for the new era."
Digital Advancements Promote Efficiency
Cologne EV Center digital advancements connect machines, vehicles and workers. Self-learning machines, autonomous transport systems and big data management in real time are expected to improve the production efficiencies, improving over time.
New cognitive and collaborative robots, and augmented reality solutions will support the plant's employees and will increase efficiencies and data exchange with other plants to share experiences in real time, according to Ford.
All electricity and natural gas required to operate the facility is carbon neutral, based on being 100% renewable electricity and biomethane.
Attention Paid Greenspace Ecology
The existing factory greenspace redesign promotes ecological biodiversity and balance. Installed measures include a new perennial forb vegetation, change of ecologically poor grass areas to wildflower meadows and insect hotels as well as bat and bird habitats.
“The carbon neutral Cologne EV Center is a leading automotive industry showcase for the switch from traditional auto manufacturing to electric vehicle production,” said Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model e Europe. “The facilities and processes have been designed by our engineers to maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impact, helping Ford become carbon neutral in Europe and supporting our global decarbonization plan.”