Ford has softened its plan for electric vehicles (EVs) in Europe, as their adoption has proven slower than expected.

    In 2021, Ford announced it would commit to selling only electric passenger cars in Europe from 2030, while it expected all its European models would be capable of zero tailpipe emissions by the middle of 2026.

    Speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car summit in London this week, Ford of Europe general manager Martin Sander said it’s “irrelevant” if internal-combustion is phased out in 2030 or 2035.

    “The trajectory is clear,” he told the summit. “We are committed to zero emissions … we just need to be reasonable about it and together find a way to manage to get to net zero in a profitable way.”

    Mr Sander admitted demand for EVs had been “softer” than the company originally estimated.

    As emissions regulations will continue to tighten in Europe, he said the speed of the shift to EVs was “down to the consumer” and Ford was prepared to continue selling hybrid models beyond 2030.

    “We can’t push EVs into the market against demand. We’re not going to pay penalties. We are not going to sell EVs at huge losses just to buy compliance,” Mr Sander told the Financial Times conference.

    “Demand is behind our expectations now and we are not hitting our ambitious targets. Everyone is getting extremely nervous.”

    Ford has been preparing to go all-electric for the past few years and has ended the production of combustion models including the Mondeo, Fiesta, and EcoSport, while the last Focus will roll off the assembly line in Saarlouis, Germany next year.

    Ford’s current EV lineup includes the Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit and E-Transit Custom commercial vans, and Puma EV.

    There’s the F-150 Lightning too, but Ford cut back production of the electric pickup earlier this year amidst declining demand.

    Ford has also previously unveiled a Volkswagen-based electric SUV called the Explorer, which will utilise the MEB platform shared by the ID.4.

    In contrast, Ford’s European rivals still offer a wide range of combustion cars, including the Fiesta-rivalling Volkswagen Polo, the Focus-rivalling Skoda Scala, and Escape- (or Kuga)-rivalling Peugeot 3008 among many others.

    Despite that, Peugeot CEO Linda Jackson said at the Financial Times summit that the company had “no choice” but to meet its plan to sell only EVs in Europe by 2030.

    MORE: Ford CEO says electric vehicles won’t be cost-effective until at least 2030
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    Max Davies

    Max Davies is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Max studied journalism at La Trobe University and stepped into the automotive world after graduating in late 2023. He grew up in regional Victoria, and with a passion for everything motorsport is a fan of Fernando Alonso.

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