Mass production of new all-electric Explorer starts at Ford’s EV assembly plant in Cologne

Ford started mass production of the new all-electric Ford Explorer at its first dedicated electric vehicle (EV) facility in Europe following a $2-billion investment. The electric Ford Explorer is the first vehicle to roll off the line at the Ford Cologne Electric Vehicle Center. A second EV, a new sports crossover, will be revealed shortly with production in Cologne starting later this year.

The Cologne Electric Vehicle Center is supported by self-learning machines and more than 600 new robots that execute welding, cutting, dusting, painting and fusing tasks.

A new control center monitors the entire assembly process in real time—right down to the quantity of every part and nut at each workstation. The plant’s “digital twin” is displayed via a giant touchscreen containing all workstations with information on tooling, material delivery, work safety and more. With small touchscreens employees on the line provide further information on the status of their workplace.

The Cologne Electric Vehicle Center is one of Ford’s most efficient vehicle assembly plants globally, supported by significant reductions in emissions, water usage and energy consumption.

Ford is working towards implementing a carbon neutrality pathway for the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center. With production now underway, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data will be monitored and recorded for independent certification according to the latest international standards. Within this carbon neutrality pathway, Ford says it will continuously improve carbon efficiency and reduce GHG emissions towards a residual level.

In addition to initiatives that reduce emissions, water usage and energy consumption, all electricity and natural gas required to operate the plant is 100% certified renewable electricity and biomethane. Ford Motor Company is targeting carbon neutrality across its European production footprint of facilities, logistics and direct suppliers by 2035.