Ford goes all in on 5G for EVs in the UK

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Words: NZ Autocar
26 Jun 2020

Ford and its EV consortium backers have received government backing for the introduction of 5G connectivity to hasten the development of electric vehicle manufacturing.

A 5G mobile private network delivered by Vodafone Business will be installed this year in the new powertrain manufacturing facility on Ford’s Dunton Campus.

After installation, the facility will have the fastest possible connectivity alongside that of its partner’s network at TWI, an expert welding firm based in Cambridge.

Connected equipment at the two sites will offer real-time control, analysis and remote expert support, ensuring new EV manufacturing processes are production ready.

Ford will work on the connectivity of welding machines in the manufacture of electric vehicles. Batteries and electric motors within an EV require around 1000 welds in total. More than half a million pieces of data are generated every minute so fast, reliable, high capacity data capture and analysis are critical for such processes.

Chris White, Ford’s 5GEM project lead, said “Present technology can be the limiting factor in reconfiguring and deploying next-gen manufacturing systems. 5G presents the opportunity to transform...present manufacturing facilities, moving us towards tomorrow’s plants connected to remote expert support and artificial intelligence.”

Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business, said: “5G mobile private networks...allow machines and computing power to coordinate in real time, improving precision, efficiency and safety.”

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said “We want Britain to be a world leader in 5G, and since 2017 the government has invested millions in ground-breaking testbeds and trials across the country to achieve this.”

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