FRANKFURT -- Ford Motor could build electric vehicles in Germany after 2023 when the life cycle of its current Fiesta model is due to end, Gunnar Herrmann, chairman of Ford of Germany, told the Handelsblatt business daily.
"Purely hypothetically that (2023) could be a good time for it," Herrmann told Handelsblatt in an interview published on Tuesday.
The executive said he would welcome state subsidies to support the shift.
Herrmann said it would take around 15 months to retool the company's plant in Cologne, where the Fiesta subcompact is built, but said it would not be worth the investment if sales of EVs reached only 30,000 or 40,000 vehicles a year.
"It will be possible if the sales numbers are moving up more powerfully. Unfortunately, today electric cars are not especially profitable yet," Herrmann was quoted as saying.
Herrmann said last year that Ford was mulling production of the StreetScooter Work XL electric delivery van in Cologne.
BMW last week echoed Hermann's comments over EV demand, saying it would not mass produce EVs until 2020 because its current technology is not profitable enough to scale up for volume production.
Ford plans to invest $5 billion in EVs by 2022 and introduce at least 13 electrified models worldwide in the next five years and aims to make its first stand-alone EV in Europe in 2020.
Herrmann suggested that the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Ford's Cologne plant is located, could offer subsidies to support the shift to EVs.
"The state could do its part to initiate the structural shift, as could the federal government," he said.
Germany's new coalition government plans to ease the tax burden on drivers of EVs, provide at least an additional 100,000 charge points across the country and subsidize car-sharing to push a shift to greener transportation.
There are also plans to provide funding for research into autonomous driving technology and support the establishment of battery cell production in Germany.