Ford To Unveil First MEB-Based Vehicle This Spring

Ethel Walsh

It’s not news that Ford intends to sell electric cars in Europe that are based on the Volkswagen MEB electric car platform. What is news is that the company plans to reveal the first such model this spring. At a media event at the Ford Europe Design Center last week, Martin Sander, head of the Model E electric vehicle division at Ford, lifted a part of the shroud covering a new car and said, “Can’t wait for 2023 to arrive, when we will pull off the cover of our first electric passenger vehicle coming from Cologne.”

What did that sneak peek tell us about the new, as yet unnamed car? Very little other than it is an SUV-style vehicle based on its shape. Autocar says it is evident that Ford’s new EV will be aimed squarely at cars like the Toyota bZ4X, Nissan Ariya, and Volvo XC40 Recharge. It also says the styling of Ford’s future offerings will be influenced by the company’s two most popular vehicles — the F-150 pickup truck and the Bronco.

A few days ago, Peter Zillig, the head of European marketing for Ford, posted his own teaser image (see above). Zillig said all new Ford models will be designed according to the Adventurous Spirit ethos, which is designed to help Ford “connect emotionally with consumers who say they know we’re American, but don’t feel we’re American.”

“Adventurous Spirit is meaningful because it is authentic. We’re not inventing something new. Instead, we’re channellng a strength that has helped define Ford for fast approaching 120 years. We are tapping into something intangible, but real.” he added.

The new MEB car will form part of the Active Adventure model line, slotting in above the Kuga EV and below a new Sports Crossover that will be similar to the Volkswagen ID.5, according to Autoblog. There are three other ‘families’ in this new age, according to Autocar — Wild Performance is for the Ford Mustang line, Urban Escape is for “statement-making models” like the Ford Puma, and Ultimate Outdoor is for hardcore off-roaders such as the Bronco and Ranger Raptor.

Ford’s new European EVs will be built at the Cologne factory where the Fiesta is currently assembled. That car will bow out in July 2023 to make room on the assembly line for the new  EV. Sander told Autocar the time was up for the Fiesta and that it “had to go.”

“We decided to build our first high-volume electric vehicle here in Cologne. There comes the point where we need the space for construction, because we are turning the Fiesta plant into a fully battery-electric plant. This is why we had to make a decision that we have to stop Fiesta production.”

The new EV — the first built on the MEB platform — will carry a name that is historically significant for Ford, although what that might be has been left unsaid. Let’s hope Ford isn’t planning to dust off the Falcon moniker!

Autocar says to expect a choice of rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive powertrains with outputs ranging from 146 hp to 295 hp, and a pair of battery options giving around 210-300 miles of range. In other words, very close to the performance envelope of the Volkswagen ID.4, a car it will share many components with.

The Takeaway

Ford will rely on the Volkswagen MEB chassis for many of its future electric vehicles, at least in Europe and maybe other world markets. Ford has played this card before, basing the Jaguar S Type on the lowly Mondeo. What exactly will distinguish a Ford based on the MEB platform from a Volkswagen based on the same platform remains to be seen. When the new car is officially unveiled next March, we will have a better idea of what Ford has up its electric vehicle sleeve.


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