The Blue Oval’s electric vehicle partnership with Volkswagen will soon bear fruit in the SUV space
When Ford and Volkswagen announced a historic agreement to share development of vehicles in 2020, it made some pretty big shockwaves. After all, it’s not every day that the world’s largest and fourth-largest manufacturers agree to team up, Super Friends-style.
Now, ahead of the kickoff of the 2022 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Lisa Drake, vice president of EV industrialisation at Ford Model E – Ford’s dedicated electric vehicle development business – has confirmed Europe will see the fruit of that partnership next year – but Australia won’t.
Drake confirmed the MEB-based electric Ford SUV will enter production before the end of 2023 and, while not confirming to which Volkswagen-based product it will be most closely linked, she did say that, based on that partnership: “You can anticipate what that product might be in Europe.”
Sadly, though, that electric midsize SUV model with Volkswagen underpinnings will only be seen in Europe. Drake confirmed there are no plans to release it in Australia or, for that matter, anywhere else.
Drake did, however, indicate that more new EV models may be unveiled between now and that 2023 release. Given Ford is expected to introduce a whopping nine new EVs before 2024, it would make sense to get a few out of the gate within the next 12 months or so.
Drake called this 2023 MEB-based SUV part of the “building blocks” of Ford’s plans to dramatically increase its EV output. Ford is targeting to produce EVs at a rate of 600,000 per year globally by the end of next year, a massive increase from current production of less than 100,000.
The bulk of that capacity is to come in the form of the Mustang Mach-E, 270,000 units produced globally out of American and Mexican factories. Next-biggest will be the F-150 Lightning, with an expected 150,000 annual production in Michigan. Another 150,000 will be the Transit EV, built in America and Turkey. The electric Transit Custom has been confirmed for Australian release.
That leaves an anticipated production of 30,000 cars annually for this new, MEB-based SUV. Ford has already begun upgrading its facility in Cologne, Germany to handle the job.
The new Cologne Electrification Center will produce that upcoming 2023 SUV, along with a second MEB-based model coming sometime in 2024.
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