Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Ford Plugs Forward to Convert Oakville Plant to Fully Electric Production

Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company


Since Ford’s presence in Canada starting in 1904, vehicles with internal combustion engines have been prominently sold and reliably produced in the country. Since 1953, Ford of Canada’s dominating production hub has been based in Oakville, Ontario. Over the course of decades, products turned out by the Oakville Assembly plant included vehicles from Ford Motor Company’s short-lived Edsel brand, the F-Series pickup truck, the compact Escort as well as the Windstar/Freestar minivan. At the start of 2020, Ford’s Oakville Assembly plant and its workforce of roughly 3,600 members has been producing the Edge mid-sized crossover vehicle as well as the Lincoln Nautilus premium crossover. With a reputation for building dependable, sought-after automobiles, a flourishing future of Ford’s Oakville Assembly Complex is secured by plans to convert vehicle output to battery electric vehicles.

Following a successful negotiation with the union representing 5,400 employees across their Canadian operations located primarily in Oakville and Windsor, Ford of Canada announced $1.98-billion (Canadian funds) of new funding to maintain their three manufacturing plants. Accounting for $1.8 billion of Ford’s investment consists of a major shift in production at their vehicle plant in Oakville. Producing internal combustion powered cars, trucks, crossovers and minivans since it opened, the Oakville Assembly Complex will ready itself to build electrics vehicles. Reported originally by the Toronto Star on September 21st, the electrified plans for the Ford facility were officially confirmed by the automaker on September 28th. It’s also mentioned by reports that Ford’s investment into insuring the future for production in Canada also includes the federal government contributing a total of $500 million.

The positive news of Ford’s upcoming plans for the Oakville Assembly Complex puts to rest reports of uncertainty in regards to capacity beyond 2022. While production of the Lincoln Nautilus was reportedly set to move to China, it’s rumoured over the summer that Ford Motor Company is steering towards dropping the Nautilus as well as the Ford Edge after 2023. With Ford’s new vehicle manufacturing plans, five battery-powered electric models are slated to take the place of the two gasoline-burning crossovers currently leaving out the door at the Oakville building starting in 2025. 

The 1.8-billion dollar investment by Ford Motor Company in Oakville allows Canada to participate in the historic automaker’s grand, ambitious plan for electrified motoring. Looking back into the history of the automobile Ford, in lack of better words, initially killed the electric car market when the automobile was being established in the early 20th century. Although the automaker was not the only one to embrace gasoline for propulsion, Ford’s massive success with the Model T mobilized the population with a cheap and simplified design that would evolve into how vehicles are seen for more than a century. The Flathead V-8 engine, the 1949 Ford, the F-Series pickup and the Mustang are just a few examples of cultural icons formed by the blue oval brand showing off the entity’s ability to innovate for changing times. As the auto company has grown into a globally renowned household name, they have shown a pattern of properly adapting to the marketplace.

At the beginning of 2018, Ford Motor Company pledged to have 40 electrified vehicles available throughout the world with 16 being fully electric models. This year, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mark-E signifies the one of the American automaker’s most ambitious steps to selling a battery-electric vehicle. Ford is expected to produce a fully-electric F-150 pickup truck and Transit van is anticipated during the 2022 calender year. The specific battery-electric vehicles expected to be built in Oakville has yet to be revealed to the public. 

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