Ford invests £150m in Liverpool plant to boost production of electric vehicle parts

Ford will invest £150million in its Halewood plant in Liverpool to expand production of electric vehicle parts, in a move that secures the site’s future and gives the UK car industry a boost after a dismal year .

This investment means that by 2026, more than two-thirds of electric vehicles made by Ford in Europe will depend on parts made in Halewood, which employs 500 people.

The renewed support for the factory comes on top of a £230million investment made by Ford last year and comes as the US company prepares to sell only electric cars in the UK and wider Europe. by 2030 and electric vans by 2035.

Last year’s investment gave the factory the capacity to manufacture 250,000 so-called electric drive units, which contain an electric gearbox and link the battery and the wheels. The injection of an additional 150 million pounds into the plant, which currently manufactures parts for internal combustion engines, will increase this capacity to 420,000 per year, from 2024.

“[Halewood] plays a vital role as the first in-house investment in EV component manufacturing in Europe,” said Ford European Operations Director Kieran Cahill.

Ford’s move is a welcome boost for the UK car industry, which is racing to attract investment to build the necessary infrastructure before sales of new petrol and diesel models are banned in the UK in 2030.

Last year, the industry secured a £1billion investment from Nissan and battery partner Envision AESC to turn a site in Sunderland into a global electric car hub. Stellantis has also pledged £100million to manufacture electric vans at Ellesmere Port.

However, this has been a disappointing year with BMW confirming the end of production of electric Minis in Oxford, and UK start-ups Arrival and Britishvolt facing funding and production issues.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders this week slashed its production forecast for the sector through 2025, warning that increased government support was needed as the industry grapples with rising energy costs and the need more training for staff and apprentices.

The industry “needs quick and decisive action that addresses immediate challenges and gives us a chance to win global competition,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

Some £24million of Ford’s new investment will go to the company’s Dunton Center in Basildon, which will prepare prototypes of the modules and train Halewood staff to produce the new electric drive units.

Units made in Halewood will be used in the Puma electric car as well as Ford’s Transit and Tourneo line of electric pickup trucks.

International Trade Secretary Kemi Bedenoch said: “Boosting electric car production is key to our climate change strategy and today’s news shows how our manufacturing, exports and our economy will benefit from this transition”.

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