Vehicle OEM Ford has announced that it has invested a further £125m (US$153m) in its Halewood plant in Merseyside in the UK to support the growth of its all-electric vehicle range.
Following the investment, capacity at the site is expected to grow by 70%. Ford will also spend an additional £24m (US$29.5m) to support its E:PRiME product development center in Dunton Wayletts in the UK, where Halewood employees are trained in machining and assembly of electric power units. The company has now invested approximately £380m (US$466m) to enable Halewood to become an EV component plant.
“Our vision in Europe is to build a thriving business by extending leadership in commercial vehicles and through the electrification of our car range,” said Kieran Cahill, vice president of European industrial operations at Ford. “Halewood is playing a critical part as our first in-house investment in EV component manufacturing in Europe.”
The Halewood plant currently produces transmissions for internal combustion engine vehicles. In 2021 it won the contract to assemble Ford electric vehicle power units, which resulted in an initial backing of £230m (US$282m) to deliver 250,000 units annually from 2024, supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Automotive Transformation Fund.
The OEM’s E:PRiME center is currently building prototypes of the electric power unit, which consists of an e-drive motor and a gearbox.
“This is an all-important next step for Ford toward having nine EVs on sale within two years,” explained Tim Slatter, chairman of Ford UK. “Our UK workforce is playing a major role in Ford’s all-electric future, demonstrated by Halewood’s pivot to a new zero-emission powertrain, and E:PRiME’s innovation at Dunton in finalizing the production processes.”
Halewood’s new power unit capacity will increase from 250,000 units to 420,000 units each year. By 2026, Ford seeks to produce two million EVs annually. The Ford Puma car, E-Transit Custom, E-Tourneo Custom people carrier, Transit Courier, Tourneo Courier and other future vehicles will be fitted with UK-built power units.
“We have consistently backed Ford as it makes its critical transition toward electrification. Boosting electric car production is key to our strategy to combat climate change. Today’s news demonstrates how our manufacturing industry, our exports and our economy will benefit from this transition,” said Kemi Badenoch, the UK’s International Trade Secretary.
Halewood is Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe as the OEM places a firm focus on the electrification of its vehicle portfolio with entirely zero-emission cars and vans by 2035.