Ford Oakville plant’s switch to EVs will start in 2024

Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday said the previously announced $1.3 billion transformation of its Oakville Assembly Plant for electric vehicle manufacturing will begin in the second quarter of next year and take about six months to complete.

During that time some of the 3,000 workers at the Ontario, Canada, the site will be furloughed, although the company expects to retain virtually all of the employees when the plant comes back online at the end of 2024.

Ford said the site, which currently builds the gasoline-powered Edge and Lincoln Nautilus crossovers, will be renamed the Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex and include a 407,000-square-foot battery pack assembly plant. The battery facility will use cells produced in Kentucky at Ford’s BlueOval SK Battery Park joint venture.

Officials said the transformation would involve consolidating the site’s three body shops into one.

“Canada and the Oakville complex will play a vital role in our Ford+ transformation,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. “It will be a modern, super-efficient, vertically integrated site for battery and vehicle assembly.”

Executives on Tuesday declined to say how many different EVs the plant would build or what its annual production capacity would be, although Bev Goodman, CEO of Ford Canada, acknowledged it could produce multiple products. When the plan for the plant was announced in 2020, Unifor’s then-president, Jerry Dias, said Oakville would get five EVs, although forecasting firm AutoForecast Solutions has since said that number has dropped to two crossovers the size of the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator.

Ford previously planned to build those products in Mexico starting in mid-2023 but canceled those plans to make room for additional production of the Mustang Mach-E. As part of the move, suppliers were told the crossovers would be delayed until December 2024, which lines up with the timing for Oakville.

A Ford spokesman on Tuesday said pre-production of the unidentified EVs will begin at Oakville by the end of 2024 with full production in early 2025.

The EVs will be built on Ford’s next-generation dedicated battery architecture, although a spokesman said it’s unclear which will come first: the Oakville products or the electric pickup that will be built at BlueOval City in Tennessee.

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