This week, Ford Europe announced a radical shift toward electric vehicles, similar to what so many other manufacturers have revealed in recent months. The end goal is simple: starting in 2030, Ford will only sell electric passenger vehicles in Europe, and plans for two thirds of their commercial vehicles to also be zero emissions. But as with most EV announcements that have made recent headlines, the nuances are what’s interesting. Here’s what Ford’s European electric vehicle plans mean for the brand, the United States, and the Ford Mustang. Yes, the Mustang.
Ford Europe says all of their passenger vehicles will be zero emissions capable by 2026, meaning every vehicle they sell will be plug in hybrid with some EV range, or fully electric. By 2030, the company plans to phase out the internal combustion engine all together in passenger cars. Commercial vehicles will be hybrids a bit longer.
This is hardly a surprise, as the UK is set to ban non-hybridized ICE powertrains by 2030, and then gas and diesel engine entirely by 2035. The European Union has similar regulations that take hold in coming years, which will virtually make it impossible for automakers to make a profit on non-electrified vehicles. It’s also easier for Ford to do this in Europe than the US, where travel distances are shorter, cars are smaller and big pickups don’t drive profits.
Yet like America, Ford currently only has one EV on sale in Europe, the Mustang Mach-E. It’s a cool EV, but it’s hardly affordable or small enough to replace popular European vehicles like the Fiesta, which has been Britain’s best selling vehicle for many years. For this reason, they’re investing $1 billion into their Cologne, Germany plant to transform it into the, ahem, Ford Cologne Electrification Center.
What Ford didn’t mention in the latest press release is that they aren’t doing this swap to EVs on their own. Ford and Volkswagen announced a deal back in 2019 that saw a partnership for multiple vehicles. Most applicably, Ford will borrow VW’s MEB platform for a at least one EV. Ford says they’ll have a European built volume EV will go on sale in 2023, but didn’t mention it will be a VW underneath. Still, expect significant changes from the VW ID.3. and ID.4.
The deal also saw a joint investment into the Argo autonomous drive company, and the next generation Ford Ranger and VW Amarok mid-size pickups. Simplified, Ford is building a Ranger pickup for VW, and VW is giving an electric vehicle platform to Ford, and both are investing in self driving cars. We suspect one company is a little happier with their end of the bargain right now, given the push towards electrification.
Back to the Ford Mustang, though. Recently, reports emerged that the Mustang would go all electric for the 2028 model year, and if Ford is only selling electric vehicles in Europe around then, this time table adds up. No, the Mustang isn’t a top seller like the Focus or Fiesta overseas, but the S550 Mustang was the first to be sold in European dealerships, and it’s helped garner the title of world’s most popular sports car for the past few years. Mustang is now a global brand.
The Mustang is an icon that helps make the Ford brand desirable, as the nameplate is currently helping make a $50,000 electric crossover desirable. It would be silly for Ford not to lean into this and cancel the Mustang altogether, so the fact that the 2028 electric Mustang and their overall EV plans line up so nicely is likely not coincidence. Having an electric Mustang will make other electric Fords interesting and desirable.
Here in America, we will also get this electric Ford Mustang, but we’ve also been seeing more information come about the next generation S650 Mustang. Because Ford’s US electrification plans are less aggressive than overseas, we could see both upcoming Mustangs be sold side by side, with the electric pony car being the only one on sale in Europe and posing as a not-so-subtle reminder of what’s to come.