Ford Motor became the latest automaker to accelerate its transition to electric cars, saying Wednesday that its European division would soon begin to phase out standard gasoline-powered vehicles. By 2026, the company will offer only electric and plug-in hybrid models.
The plan is part of a bid to generate steady profits in Europe, where Ford has struggled for several years, as well as to meet increasingly strict emissions standards in the European Union.
“We successfully restructured Ford of Europe and returned to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2020,” Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe, said in a statement. “Now we are charging into an all-electric future.”
Ford and other automakers are moving more rapidly on electric vehicles in Europe than in the United States. Last year the European Union began imposing penalties on carmaker which do not adhere to limits on carbon dioxide emissions, forcing them to sell more electric cars.
Ford said it planned to spend $1 billion to overhaul its main European plant, in Cologne, Germany, to produce electric vehicles. The first new model is supposed to go into production in 2023, Ford said.
All of the delivery vans and commercial vehicles made by Ford of Europe will be electric or plug-in hybrids by 2024, and its entire range of vehicles would be electric or plug-in hybrids two years after that.
Last month General Motors said it aimed produce only electric vehicles by 2035, but G.M. has all but pulled out of Europe, having sold its Opel division in 2017 to Frances Peugeot SA. Peugeot recently merged with Fiat Chrysler and is now known as Stellantis.