Ford announced Monday that it intends to spend $315 million (£230 million) transforming a factory in northwest England into a site that will make components for electric vehicles. The vehicle transmission facility in Halewood, Merseyside, will be turned into an electric power unit production plant, the U.S. motor giant said.
Ford stressed that the investment is subject to and includes U.K. government support, which reportedly amounts to £30 million. “This is an important step, marking Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe,” said Stuart Rowley, president of Ford Europe, in a statement.
“It strengthens further our ability to deliver 100% of Ford passenger vehicles in Europe being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030,” he added. Ford said it will start making the electric power units at Halewood in mid-2024, adding that it plans to produce around 250,000 of them at the site each year.
Last year, the U.K. government created a £500 million pot to try to persuade electric vehicle manufacturers and battery makers to expand their operations in the U.K. It wants sales of new petrol and diesel cars to end in the U.K. by 2030.
Elsewhere this year, Nissan and Stellantis, the world’s fourth-biggest carmaker, have also announced electric vehicle investments at their U.K. plants. BMW already makes the electric Mini at a site in Oxford. U.K. Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement: “Ford’s decision to build its first electric vehicle components in Europe at its Halewood site is further proof that the UK remains one of the best locations in the world for high-quality automotive manufacturing.” Ford said 500 jobs at the factory will be safeguarded as a result of the investment.