EV Technology Centre

| Information and Communication Technology

Electric Vehicle technology centre to use latest developments in digital manufacturing

Ford has chosen Cologne in Germany as the home to its electric vehicle technology centre in Europe

Ford’s Cologne Electric Vehicle Centre has now been opened, providing a hi-technology production facility in Germany that will build the company’s new generation of electric passenger vehicles for millions of European customers.

The car manufacturer has long had a facility at the Neihl, Cologne site, which has been in Ford’s hands since 1930 and has produced over 18 million cars including the Model A, the Capri and the Granada. It has now been rejuvenated for the electric age as part of a $2 billion investment which represents a major vote of confidence in skilled German manufacturing jobs and the future of automotive production in continental Europe.

Designed to be highly efficient, the 125-hectare site is equipped with a brand-new production line, battery assembly and state-of-the-art tooling and automation, enabling an annual production capacity of 250,000+ EVs. Following the success of the Mustang Mach-E and the E-Transit, Ford recently unveiled another EV to the world, the Explorer, which will be the first electric vehicle to be produced in Cologne, followed by a second electric vehicle, which the company says will be a sports crossover.

Carbon Neutral Manufacturing

Ford says the Cologne EV Centre will be its first carbon neutral assembly plant to open globally and supports the company’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality across its entire European footprint of facilities, logistics and direct suppliers by 2035.

Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman believes that opening the Cologne EV Centre is the start of a new generation of clean manufacturing and electric vehicles in Europe.

“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,” he says.

Digital Manufacturing

At the core of the centre are digital advancements that connect machines, vehicles and workers. Implementing self-learning machines, autonomous transport systems and big data management in real time are integral to improve the efficiency of the production processes and get better over time, assuring high quality.

New cognitive and collaborative robots as well as augmented reality systems will support its employees and will increase efficiencies and data exchange with other plants to share experiences in real time.

Carbon Neutrality

To achieve carbon neutrality, Ford will reduce the use of energy and emissions in the plant by the installation of new processes, machinery and technologies. All electricity and natural gas required to operate the facility is carbon neutral based on being 100 per cent certified renewable electricity and biomethane.

The heat required to warm the facility and processes is 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.

The local energy provider plans to reduce their operating emissions for this heat delivery by approximately 60 per cent 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 facilities and processes at the EV Technical Centre 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,” concludes Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model “E” Europe.

Jonathan Newell
Latest posts by Jonathan Newell (see all)

Related news