Ford has opened the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center, a production facility in Germany that the company says is its first carbon-neutral assembly plant and will be dedicated to manufacturing the automaker’s new generation of electric vehicles for the European market.
The conversion of the historic Niehl plant in Cologne, initially established in 1930, is part of a substantial $2 billion investment. The facility will use self-learning machines, autonomous transport systems, and real-time data management to help improve operational efficiencies.
Cologne Electric Vehicle Center
The Cologne EV Center will become Ford’s first carbon-neutral assembly plant worldwide, aligning with the company’s ambitious goal to achieve carbon neutrality across all its European facilities, logistics, and direct suppliers by 2035.
The site has been meticulously designed for high efficiency, featuring a production line, battery assembly, and tooling and automation. The facility boasts an impressive annual production capacity of over 250,000 electric vehicles (EVs). Following the successful launches of the Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit, and F-150 Lightning, Ford recently unveiled its fourth global EV, the electric Explorer, which will be the inaugural electric vehicle produced at the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center. This will be followed by the introduction of a sports crossover EV.
Cologne EV Center History
Since 1930, the site has played a central role in the European automotive industry, producing iconic vehicles such as the Ford Model A, Taunus, Capri, Granada, and Fiesta. Over the span of more than 90 years, the Ford Cologne plant has been one of the company’s most efficient facilities worldwide, enabling millions of Europeans to experience the freedom of mobility across generations.
At the heart of the Cologne EV Center’s operations are digital advancements that facilitate seamless connectivity between machines, vehicles, and workers. The integration of self-learning machines, autonomous transport systems, and real-time big data management enhances production processes’ efficiency and ensures continuous improvement and high quality. Additionally, real-time data exchange with other plants enables shared experiences and knowledge transfer.
In line with its Road to Better plan, Ford is actively turning the Cologne EV Center into a carbon-neutral facility. The company aims to reduce energy consumption and emissions through the adoption of new processes, machinery, and technologies. The electricity and natural gas required for the plant’s operations are carbon neutral, sourced from 100% certified renewable electricity and biomethane. Moreover, the energy provider plans to reduce their operating emissions for heat delivery by approximately 60% in 2026 and eliminate these emissions entirely by 2035.