Ford’s factory in Oakville, Ontario, will begin its $1.3 billion ($1.8 billion CAD) transformation into an electric vehicle assembly plant in the second quarter of 2024. The retooling is expected to take six months to finish, the automaker said Tuesday.
During the process, an estimated 3,000 workers will be furloughed, according to Automotive News. Ford, however, says it expects to bring back virtually all the factory workers when the plant comes back online at the end of 2024.
The factory, which currently produces gas-powered Edge and Lincoln Nautilus crossovers, will be renamed the Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex and will include a 407,000-square-foot battery assembly plant. The facility will use battery cells produced by Ford’s BlueOvalSK Battery Park in Kentucky.
Ford has outlined an ambitious goal for its transformation to electric-powered vehicles
Ford has outlined an ambitious goal for its transformation to electric-powered vehicles. The company has said it will produce 600,000 EVs annually starting in 2024, accelerating to 2 million a year by the start of 2027, with the goal of achieving 50 percent of total sales by 2030.
Ford has declined to say which EVs or how many will be produced at the Oakville factory. There are rumors that the company will make the electric version of its Explorer SUV for North American customers at the plant. Last month, Ford unveiled the Explorer EV for the European market but has declined to say when it will be available for US customers. (A previous plan to produce it alongside the Mustang Mach-E in Cuautitlan, Mexico, was scrapped.)
Ford CEO Jim Farley has hinted at all-electric versions of the new Bronco SUV and Maverick compact pickup, though the company hasn’t said when those would be built.
The automaker has said it expects to lose $3 billion this year on its EV sales, but the outlook is certainly improving. Ford said recently that its EV business grew 41 percent this quarter on sales of 10,866 units. That includes 4,291 F-150 Lightning trucks and a 62.7 percent increase in E-Transit delivery vans.
Sales of the Mustang Mach-E were down, reflecting downtime at the factory for changes designed to improve production. Ford said it’s still on track to hit a run rate of 150,000 EVs this year — hopefully without any more recalls.