By on February 17, 2021

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Another day, another automaker making promises about electric vehicles. Today’s company is Ford, which has vowed to make all European automotive sales electric-only by 2030.

This comes with the footnote of having the ability to soften that promise with plug-in hybrids. But, since this is all about corporate virtue signaling, that’s not what automakers tend to lead with. The industry wants to focus upon net-zero carbon emissions, sustainability, and other buzz terms that allow something to sound environmentally friendly without our needing to check if that’s actually the case. By the time 2030 comes around, only a few dozen people are even going to remember these promises if they’re not kept anyway — giving companies another opportunity to move the goalpost.

On the upside, electrification promises hold more water than the ongoing mobility hustle that was supposed to deliver self-driving automobiles by 2020. At the very least, we know EVs exist and Ford has the capability to manufacturer them in limited numbers. Blue Oval is even investing $1 billion investment in a new electric vehicle manufacturing center in Cologne for the expressed purpose of building electric cars for the European market. Now that the brand has successfully regained profitability within the region, Ford thinks it can start producing EVs at the plant in 2023.

But we would be a lot more confident about the automaker’s bold claims on electrification if Ford expressed any interest in manufacturing its own batteries and didn’t make exceptions for its 2030 EV timeline by way of hybridization. The company stated that it wants its European lineup to be entirely “zero-emissions capable all-electric or plug-in hybrid” by 2026.

The word capable leaves a lot open to interpretation. Theoretically, all companies are zero-emissions capable whether or not that’s true in practice. You’re capable of winning the lottery but that doesn’t mean you’re going to. Fortunately, Ford also issued an iron-clad promise that it would transmission entirely to battery-driven cars in Europe by 2030. While we’re pleased to see any manufacturer speaking in absolute terms, it always feels odd that automakers are vowing to tailor their product planning around the ever-changing whims of government. Whatever happened to the customer?

More details are supposed to be provided about the new Germany factory in the coming months. But Ford seems excited about being able to bring some jobs back into the region after some necessary restructuring and the ability to someday tout itself as an EV manufacturer.

“The decision to make the production and development site in Cologne the e-mobility center for Ford in Europe is an important signal to the entire workforce,” said Martin Hennig, chairman of the General Works Council of Ford-Werke GmbH. “It offers a long-term perspective for our employees and at the same time encourages them to help shape this electric future.”

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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32 Comments on “Ford Says All European Sales Will Be Battery Only by 2030...”


  • avatar
    ollicat

    virtue signaling is correct. I view this with the subtitle, “Ford to produce all cars by 2030 with limited range, painfully long recharging times, vastly reduced capability when it is cold, and shifted emissions to where you think you are saving the environment but just fooling yourself.”

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “Ford to produce all cars by 2030 with limited range,”
      At the high end, we already have 500-mile range cars coming. By 2030 we’ll have that range at the low end.

      “painfully long recharging times”
      Probably won’t take much longer than a gas car now in 2030. Right now, if you have at-home charging, it’s effectively quicker than a gas car since you don’t even have to take it someplace to be fueled.

      Charging times will be reduced through new battery chemistries. Batteries that can take a high rate of charge for longer periods. A bigger factor will be improved gravimetric density. That basically means a battery for a given capacity will be lighter than its current equivalent. A lighter battery means more efficiency, so you can get away with a smaller capacity battery for a given range, making the car even more efficient. A smaller capacity battery will charge quicker for a given range. In other words, charger MPH will increase.

      “, vastly reduced capability when it is cold”
      It’s not “vastly reduced”. The batteries are heated with a heat pump. Also, does it really matter if your 400-mile range car can only go 300 miles when you only need to drive 15 miles? Yeah, I know, you have a 600-mile commute uphill both ways and you wear astronaut diapers so you don’t have to stop.

      • 0 avatar
        ollicat

        Not sure if you have ever owned or lived with an EV. Everything I said is true. They are impractical for many owners and their downsides are being ignored.

      • 0 avatar
        RangerM

        @mcs

        Being generous, 2031 model year vehicles are less than 9 years away, with the engineering prototypes coming well before.

        I’m fairly aware of some of the “new battery chemistries” that aren’t likely to make it to a mainstream production car in that time, much less all production cars.

        I’d like to know what you know, to have the same confidence. Because 2030 is doable, but not to the point I believe charging “Probably won’t take much longer than a gas car now in 2030”.

        My level of confidence says we’ll be using liquid fuels for the next 30-50 years.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        How in the world can a battery take a five-minute charge for 500 miles of range, and not be burned up in six months of use?

        I thought each aim was mutually exclusive, based upon current chemistry and technology limits.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        But, but, but… we can’t have progress, that there’s a naughty word, what sounds like “progressive”! Them edgeucomated book-larnin’ elite engineers can’t possibly do any of this, not while there’s keyboard cowboys what says they caint!

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This is perfectly plausible. Europe will be the easiest of the world’s major markets to convert to electric. Distances are short compared to other major markets, there is sufficient development almost everywhere to make a continent-wide L3 charging network easily workable, and governments are invested in making it happen.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      It’s plausible. I don’t know about “easy” though. I have a feeling that North America has a lot more reserved and residential parking compared to Europe. Especially compared to Eastern Europe. That means the public charging infrastructure is going to be essential.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      European household line voltage is ~230V, which avoids the ~120V nightmare scenario which Tim ran into with his condo.

      (Level 2 charging is around 5-6 times faster than Level 1 charging.)

      https://www.chargepoint.com/blog/level-your-ev-charging-knowledge/

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Gas stations over there are starting to add chargers as well.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Given the choice between standing around watching desiccated hot dogs spinning on a roller grill for thirty minutes, and sitting in a restaurant for the same time, I’d pick the latter!

          However, my preference is to be able to start up a pump, and be done in five minutes, maybe leaving with a frozen cola or a coffee, along with aforementioned hot dog-cum-beef jerky if I needed, in the moment, to not starve to death! Without some pencil-necked pencil-pusher taking that choice away from me for the sake of an argument which some take as gospel, or at least those who wield the power, and those for whom the argument is specious at best.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Ford has been attempting to boost its share price through virtue signaling press releases for at least 5 years now. It’s not working.

  • avatar

    And what if Texas debacle happens in Europe? Russia help us again? No, China is our first priority.

  • avatar
    geo

    This is the automotive equivalent of a film production company promising to place an adorable same-sex couple in every movie or TV show, or advertising companies including a same-sex kiss in every TV commercial montage.

  • avatar
    FalconRTV

    When will there be an EV that actually meets the needs of a driver who wants to tow and / or carry stuff over long distances in remote locations on poor quality roads? Like many of us do here in Australia. To be honest most people don’t have these requirements but those same people probably want a vehicle with that capability. So how can Ford make predictions for 2030 when they currently offer nothing except a short range MachE?

    I’m not anti EV, just realistic.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Never. (I think that’s the answer you want to hear.)

      But just in case:
      https://www.greenbiz.com/article/keep-your-eyes-these-9-electric-truck-and-van-companies-2021

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Is this the same Ford Motor Company, which a few days ago mentioned that it won’t be designing or building its own batteries?

    Of course it is.

    Another OPUD scenario,
    Over promise, under deliver.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    It bothers me when manufacturers use the words ‘sustainability’ with the term ‘EVs’. In my mind there is nothing sustainable about EVs and their huge drain on precious and rare resources. And while I realize that some of these metals are needed in the production of conventional ICE cars (Platin for the catalytic converters and so forth), they are in that case needed on a far smaller scale and can also be effectively recycled (again using the example of the Platin in the catalytic converters). The need for these many resources mean that not everyone in the future can own a car [EV] – and governments know and want this.

    The dictatorial EU has made it clear (it is even stated on their website) that they want practically zero cars on the road while forcing the masses into public transportation and bicycles. All forms of motorized individual mobility (including EVs) are frowned upon by these eco-radical leftists who want to take away any form of freedom we still have. Now certain political parties in Germany even want to ban the construction of single-family-homes claiming that it is a waste of space and resources while using too much energy and creating more automotive traffic in the process. Being shoved into an East German style Plattenbau apartment is what they consider to be ‘more efficient’. No thank you.

    And – the charging problem still remains – the expanse of the EV infrastructure is sluggish and slow, and there is a lack of space where several hundred EVs could charge at the same time. Not to mention the lack of electricity in my country (which now has the highest prices in the world thanks to Merkel and her idiotic Green friends).

    • 0 avatar
      craiger

      That’s the thing, when you justify public policy by claiming that it’s necessary in order to “save the world” where does it end? If enough people believe that the choice is to enact policy, or face extinction, then what policy is off the table?

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        craiger,

        “where does it end?”

        I know where the money ends up — in the pockets of the people making all the noise about how we have to this or we’ll all die. The green scam works well for them because anyone who argues against it is branded a planet killer. I don’t really believe any of these people give a hoot about the roiling masses. They only care about their greed, ego, and power. Funny how that one never changes.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Obviously nobody learned the lesson of what happened under the divided Germany! Then again, as you pointed out in another post the other day, Kommandant (sp?) Merkel is originally from the East, so no surprise I guess!

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        Elections are coming up in September. Merkel will not be running but she has made sure that a male version of her (Armin Laschet) is now a potential chancellor candidate for her party. Laschet will carry on Merkel’s policies to the letter.

        The German people are meanwhile digging their own grave by voting for the eco-radical Green Party which is basically a green-colored version of the Khmer Rouge which terrorize Cambodia in the 1970s.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    It’s Europe. Will anyone be selling ICE passenger vehicles there in 2030? I was under the impression that governments there seem to be leaning towards no. Virtue signaling would be saying you were going to do this in the US where there is no real regulatory pressure to do so and most of your profits come From a segment (trucks) that pose the most challenges to electrification. Saying you are going to electrify on a continent that is heading that way and where most people don’t drive distances that pose challenges to EVs just seems like reading the writing on the wall…assuming of course they do it.

  • avatar
    craiger

    The future regulatory landscape notwithstanding, wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear a company say “We will build the kinds of cars that our customers want.”

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      There is a strong possibility that in 10 years that they will make progress against the issues. In that case, EVs might be what people want. Especially if the gasoline fueling infrastructure starts contracting. You don’t want to be the Baldwin Locomotive/Kodak/Polaroid/Sears of the auto industry in 2030. Once you drive an EV, you discover they have an advantage in torque, smoothness, and quiet. Fueling at home is good too if you can do it. Without government support, I think in 2030 EVs are what people are going to want. They’re just so awesome to drive. Just being able to put your foot to the floor and not having to wait for a downshift. You just instantly go. So nice. I’m an auto enthusiast first. I want the quickest fastest most responsive thing I can get. Right now that’s EV technology. The only virtue I want to signal is my acceleration.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Once you drive an EV, you discover they have an advantage in torque, smoothness, and quiet”.

        …and cost significantly more, offer less resale, have more limited range, the battery tech is quickly outdated, have a shorter lifespan, require dealer or specialist service only, cannot be easily owned by those in apartments/condos, require you to update your home’s electrical service if not new, and you won’t be able to use them if you lose your home’s power source for more than a few days.

        “Without government support, I think in 2030 EVs are what people are going to want.”

        I’m bearish on this and I think the technocrats are too, that’s why they are going to go full Stalin in a few years IMO if things aren’t trending up.

        “Just being able to put your foot to the floor and not having to wait for a downshift.”

        I drove golf carts for years both electric and gas powered. The electric ones were much nicer to drive but the EV needs to sell on its own merits, not be propped up through artificial means and threats.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “and cost significantly more”

          That’s purely an issue of battery cost. If we can get batteries to or under $100/kWh, which they are on a trajectory to do in the next few years, EVs will achieve cost parity.

          “require dealer or specialist service”

          The maintenance schedule on my Bolt has five items:

          1) Rotate/change tires
          2) Change cabin air filter
          3) Change coolant (5 years or 50k miles)
          4) Change brake fluid (same)
          5) Inspect brakes (although they are expected to last the life of the car because of regen)

          That’s it. There is much less service for an EV.

          The rest of the drawbacks you name are purely transition-related; when public charging infrastructure is widely available and the technology has stabilized, they won’t be issues. Governments in Europe are a lot more ambitious about this transition than ours has been so far (even post-Trump).

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “and cost significantly more, ”
          Not true. When you factor in the performance, they aren’t. Compare similar cars in terms of 0-60 and that price difference is justified. Even a Bolt. Compare that with a Honda Fit’s acceleration and NVH. If you could get a Honda Fit with the same 0-60 and a smooth torquey powerplant, it would probably cost the same.

          ” offer less resale” That’s not true. With the exception of the Leaf, they hold their value well. Especially Tesla. Compare Tesla with BMW depreciation.

          “have more limited range”
          Again, not true. A 300 or 400 mile EV will have more range than several ICE cars ‘ve owned.

          “he battery tech is quickly outdated,” Why is that a problem. Who cares. Besides, when solid-state batteries come out, I’m sure there will be third parties that upgrade the old cells. That’s happened with the Leaf where 3rd parties will install tesla cells.

          “have a shorter lifespan”
          QUantumScape is reporting 800 cycles. I think Tesla is similar to their latest chemistry, although I’ve seen reports of over 10,000 cycles. 800 cycles are about 240,000 miles on a 300-mile range car. Even then, I think that might have been 80% capacity. Anything over 500 cycles is going to last longer than an ICE motor with major work.

          “require dealer or specialist service only,”
          Those independents exist. There are several near me. Some staffed by EV techs that left the dealers.

          “can not be easily owned by those in apartments/condos, ”
          Why not? If you drive 30 miles a day, you might need to quick charge once a week. For some people, they can deal with it. It’s not hard. Maybe someone will come up with a combo quick charge/laundromat. If EVs become more common, landlords will have trouble renting without chargers and will have to install them. Condos will have less value without them. By 2030, because of increased gravimetric density, lighter more durable batteries, charging times will get closer to gas cars. Also, some condos have separate individual garages.

          “you won’t be able to use them if you lose your home’s power source for more than a few days.”

          Not true. If you’re worried about it, get solar with a powerwall. If superchargers are up, just go there and charge. As technology evolves, you might be able to drive someplace with power, quick charge, then bring the power back and charge your powerwall with the car.

          “require you to update your home’s electrical service if not new,”

          Not necessarily. My big upgrades had to happen because of a new kitchen which pulled way more power than the EV. Dual ovens and the electric cooktop are more than triple the EV. In many cases, upgrading wiring isn’t such a bad idea anyway.

          “but the EV needs to sell on its own merits, not be propped up through artificial means and threats”

          Never seen the threat part. Let’s cut the oil subsidies too. Mandating EVs is a double edge sword. On one hand, I’d really like to see them evolve on their own merit, but on the other hand, the only way to get companies to commit to the investments that are needed to make it happen is probably a mandate.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      …”If the technocrats let us”.

  • avatar

    The big thing that everyone but Tesla seems to have trouble with is the batteries. Not only do you need to find someone to actually build quality batteries, but to do this they’ll need them to grow exponentially in manufacturing capabilities to do so. How are they guiding the MFG pipeline of batteries to hit this target?

    Tesla partnered with Panasonic nearly 10 years ago now and has built multiple versions of what at one time was an unheard of scale battery production plant. And they still only build a small fraction of the number of cars that Ford or GM does. Where are the Ford gigafactories?? Is there an actual plan or is this just all pillow talk.

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