Ford plans to invest up to £230m at its Halewood facility so that it can build electric power units for future all-electric passenger and commercial vehicles sold in Europe.
Power unit production at the site is expected to begin in mid-2024 with a planned capacity of around 250,000 units a year. The investment is subject to and includes government support through its Automotive Transformation Fund.
According to Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe, the move signifies Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe.
The power unit is the complete all-electric assembly that replaces the engine and transmission in ICE vehicles. Halewood currently builds transmissions for a number of Ford passenger and commercial vehicles and exports 100 per cent of its production. Before being taken back into Ford ownership earlier this year, Halewood had been part of Getrag Ford Transmissions, the transmission manufacturing joint venture co-owned by Ford and Magna, for over 20 years.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Justin Benson, partner and automotive sector specialist at management consultancy, Vendigital, said: “Ford’s decision is a major milestone on the UK automotive sector’s journey to a zero emissions future. It’s also a stamp of approval from inward investors, signaling their confidence in the UK’s position within the global EV industry. We’re likely to see more automotive manufacturers following in Ford’s footsteps in the near future.
“However, while these kinds of announcements bode well for the UK’s net-zero transition, it’s important to bear in mind that a significant investment in Gigafactories will also be vital. This will be the next big challenge for the Government and will be key to level the playing field with other major EV manufacturing hubs.”