Ford’s relatively open-minded approach to EV development includes several homegrown vehicles like the F-150 Electric and Mustang Mach-E but also models based on platforms from other automakers. As previously detailed by Ford Authority, The Blue Oval entered into an historic agreement with Volkswagen earlier this year that will allow Ford access to the German automaker’s MEB electric vehicle architecture. Now, the company has decided to make the Ford Cologne plant in Germany the site where the yet-to-be-named, upcoming Ford EV will be built, according to recent reports. It’s a win for Ford Germany, but it unfortunately came at the expense of another Ford plant.
Previous reports suggested the MEB-based Ford EV would be awarded to the Ford Craiova Assembly plant in Romania due to that country’s lower labor costs, but Ford decided to allocate the $1.2 billion to its factory in Cologne instead, which currently builds the Ford Fiesta.
Despite boasting an architecture supplied by VW, Ford maintains that the upcoming electric vehicle will easily distinguish itself from other MEB-based products like the ID.3 and ID.4. In any event, The Blue Oval plans to produce 600,000 MEB-based vehicles over a six-year period starting in 2023, which is when the Cologne-assembled Ford EV is slated to go on sale.
Ford and VW are currently engaged in a substantial partnership. In return for getting access to the MEB architecture, The Blue Oval will work with VW on a Ford Ranger-based pickup and a Transit-based commercial van. Additionally, the next-gen Ford Transit Connect will be based on VW’s Caddy compact van. Both firms are also invested in the Argo AI autonomous vehicle venture.
As it currently stands, the MEB-based Ford EV is not slated to arrive in North America. For its part, VW is set to launch the 2021 ID.4 in the U.S. based on the MEB platform in Q1 2021. The electric crossover will compete directly against the Mustang Mach-E.