Ford has invested an additional 125 million pound in its Halewood Plant, on Merseyside – increasing capacity by 70 percent – plus 24 million pound in the supporting E:PRiME product development centre.
This takes the total investment in enabling Halewood’s transformation to an EV component plant to almost 380 million pound. Halewood’s new power unit capacity, raised from 250,000 to 420,000 a year – itself a 70 percent increase – also means that 70 percent 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.
Kieran Cahill, Ford’s European Industrial Operations vice-president said, “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.”
Halewood’s selection marked Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe. Halewood’s transition to electric component production is integral to Ford in Europe building a thriving and profitable business, centred on the electrification of its vehicle portfolio towards entirely zero-emission cars and vans by 2035.
The plant, which currently produces transmissions for internal combustion engine vehicles, had won assembly of Ford electric vehicles’ power units brought an initial backing of £230 million last year to deliver 250,000 units a year from 2024. This was supported by BEIS’ Automotive Transformation Fund, which aims to electrify Britain’s automotive supply chain and protect its competitiveness in the global market.
Ford’s £24 million E:PRiME centre, 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 Centre. 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.
Tim Slatter, chairman of Ford UK, said: “This is an all-important next step for Ford towards having nine EVs on sale within two years. 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 finalising the production processes.”
The acclaimed Ford Puma car; E-Transit Custom, the electric version of Britain’s best-selling vehicle, benefitting from unique commercial vehicle support from Ford Pro; E-Tourneo Custom people carrier; Transit Courier; Tourneo Courier and future products will be fitted with the UK-built power units. Halewood will deliver to the vehicles’ 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 £2.1 billion annually.
The latest investment – which includes 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.
At the same time, Ford is targeting carbon neutrality across its European footprint of facilities, logistics and suppliers by 2035. Halewood Plant’s new electric power unit operation is targeting carbon neutral energy supply for production start in 2024.