Ford boosts investment for EV drive production in the UK

01 December 2022 Ongoing commitment to the research and development of electric vehicle component manufacturing is key to maintaining the UK’s position as global leaders in the technology says the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). 

Ford has announced a further £125 million investment in its Halewood Plant, plus £24 million for the E:PriME product development centre – coming after a series of ground-breaking APC projects.

This follows the commitment by Ford last year to transition operations at the facility to manufacture electric drive units (EDUs), rather than transmissions for internal combustion engines.

Halewood was supported by the APC-managed Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), which was created to electrify Britain’s automotive sector and protect its competitiveness in the global market.

This new investment raises the total to £380 million and reinforces confidence in the UK’s capability and its electric vehicle supply chain.

The benefits of this latest increase – which includes Government support through the Department for International Trade’s UK Export Finance facility – will not only help safeguard the 500 Ford jobs at Halewood, but will also strengthen a competitive UK supply chain for electronic drive units and could potentially lead to more jobs in British businesses supplying the Halewood site.

It’s now projected that 70 per cent of the 600,000 EVs Ford will sell in Europe a year by 2026, will be powered by the Halewood-produced technology.

Ian Constance, APC Chief Executive, explains:

“This investment sends a very positive signal that Ford remains committed to the UK and the Halewood site. The story of collaboration between Ford and its industry partners on research and development moves to the next chapter with the scale-up of production here, supported by the ATF and now UK Export Finance funding from Government. It is a key part of maintaining the UK’s position as leaders in the decarbonisation of transport.”

As reported last year, one of APC’s very first funded projects back in 2013 was with Ford, on developments that significantly cut the CO2 emissions on the incredibly successful EcoBoost engine.

Since then, there have been a total of seven collaborative R&D projects, working closely with Ford’s UK technical centre at the Ford Britain Dunton Campus in Essex. Two projects in particular – ViVID and E:PriME – played a major part in the creation of this product development centre.

Ford’s E:PriME centre at its Dunton product development HQ is building prototypes of the e-Drive power unit and training Halewood employees in its machining and assembly, assisted by the APC.  The power unit, or e-Drive, replaces the engine and transmission of a conventional engine vehicle by propelling an EV using battery energy.

Constance continues,

“I’m pleased to see how Ford is delivering on its goals of moving towards electrification and zero-emission vehicles. The expertise developed here, and products exported, will continue to make a strong case for siting manufacturing activity in the UK and accelerates progress towards net zero.”

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