Volkswagen's Not Ruling Out an Electric Tie-up With Ford

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Pretty much everything is on the table at this point. At least, that’s the way it looks to industry observers. The partnership announced between Ford and Volkswagen back in June has the potential to birth any number of outcomes — from jointly developed commercial vehicles (the initial aim), to badge-swapped overseas small cars, autonomous vehicle hardware, and perhaps even borrowed electric vehicle architecture.

As it prepares the launch of its MEB-platform electric vehicles, Volkswagen’s not saying “no” to letting Ford have a piece of the action.

Of course, it’s not saying “yes” either. Speaking on a conference call Tuesday, Volkswagen chief financial officer Frank Whitter said the company is open to new hookups, Automotive News reports, but wouldn’t say whether or not its MEB architecture would ever be up for grabs.

“Whether we might provide access to other brands outside of the VW Group is theoretically possible, but there is no decision,” Whitter said.

Having access to VW’s EV architecture would be a cost-saving boon for Ford, which begins its electric product push with the release of a sporty crossover in 2020. At this year’s Detroit auto show, Ford announced plans to release 40 electrified models by 2022, 16 of which would be fully electric. To do this, the automaker will spend $11 billion.

VW’s first MEB vehicle, a compact hatchback, starts production in November 2019. Following that, a crossover and reborn Microbus appear, with production eventually leaving Germany for the U.S. and China. Those latter two models likely have a home in Tennessee.

All told, VW aims to build 10 million electric vehicles using its new architecture. One of the brand’s main areas of focus is the Chinese EV market — a cash-rich cornucopia of state-incentivized green vehicle buyers. It’s a market Ford, which saw its Chinese operations hit a towering roadblock in recent months, would definitely like a larger slice of.

Platforms aside, Whitter said VW is eagerly looking to lower future costs by partnering with big players in the autonomous driving field.

“It’s no secret that this is very expensive to develop and that there is the one or the other that is far ahead, such as Waymo in the U.S., so we are naturally thinking about how we can narrow the lead. Or if this isn’t feasible, how we can strengthen our own activities,” Whitter said. “There’s no final decision.”

[Image: Volkswagen]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
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