Ford opens carbon-neutral Cologne Electric Vehicle Center production facility

June 15, 2023

Ford has officially opened the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center, a production facility that will be used to build Ford's new generation of electric passenger vehicles (Courtesy Ford Motor Company)
Ford has officially opened the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center, a production facility that will be used to build Ford’s new generation of electric passenger vehicles (Courtesy Ford Motor Company)

Ford Motor Company has officially opened the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center, a production facility that will be used to build Ford’s new generation of electric passenger vehicles. The company has transformed its Niehl plant in Cologne, Germany, which was first founded in 1930, as part of a $2 million investment. The 125-hectare site is reportedly equipped with a brand-new production line, battery assembly and state-of-the-art tooling and automation, and will enable annual production capacity of 250,000+ EVs.

“Opening the Cologne EV Center is the start of a new generation of clean manufacturing and electric vehicles in Europe,” said Bill 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.”

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GermanFederal Chancellor, Olaf Scholz added, “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.”

For more than ninety years, the Ford plant in Cologne has been one of Ford’s most efficient plants worldwide, producing over 18 million cars.

“The Cologne EV Center signals the start of a new era for Ford in Europe,” shared Martin Sander, General Manager of Ford Model e Europe. “We are once again redefining auto manufacturing, implementing advanced technologies to build fully connected, software-defined vehicles that meet our customers’ demand for zero1emission mobility.”

The Cologne EV Center will be Ford’s first carbon neutral assembly plant to open globally, supporting the company’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality across its entire European footprint of facilities, logistics and direct suppliers by 2035. In order to achieve this, Ford will reportedly install new processes, machinery, and technologies in order to reduce the use of energy and emissions in the plant. All electricity and natural gas required to operate the facility is said to be carbon neutral based on it being 100% certified renewable electricity and biomethane.

The heat required to warm the facility and processes is reportedly also carbon neutral, as the local energy provider will offset the corresponding emissions from the assembly plant on behalf of Ford. The heat is generated by an external power plant and waste incineration plant and provided through a dedicated steam network to Ford. This energy provider reportedly looks to reduce their operating emissions for this heat delivery by approximately 60% in 2026 and then eliminate these emissions completely by 2035.

Once fully operational, Ford Cologne’s EV Center will be independently certified as carbon neutral. This independent certification will be audited and reconciled on a regular basis against purchasing high quality carbon offsets for any remaining emissions.

“The carbon neutral Cologne EV Center is a leading automotive industry showcase for the switch from traditional auto manufacturing to electric vehicle production,” concluded Sander. “The facilities and processes have been designed by our engineers to maximise efficiency and minimise environmental impact, helping Ford become carbon neutral in Europe and supporting our global decarbonisation plan.”

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