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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagens not ruling out an electric tie up with ford

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]

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  • JMII So this pretty much confirms the long standing rumor that the C8 platform was designed for hybrid AWD support. If this is even faster then the current Z06 it will be a true rocket ship. GM was already hinting that even more impressive C8 was coming, most assume a turbo ZR1 but an e-assist AWD package seems more like... and apparently it will be called E-Ray.
  • Tassos the announcement is unnecessarily verbose, aka full of it. Most 'justifications" for the shutdown are shameless lies.
  • Jwee I can post images...?????
  • Jwee @Bobby D'OppoThere is no element of the reported plan that involves taking people's carsSeems like you missed the Southpark reference:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO5sxLapAtsMy comment was humor (or humour if you prefer). The city council is not literally taking people's cars, but seems like they wouldn't mind a drop in car ownership. More cyclists! Less pollution! More public transport! A £70 fine per violation! Surely if they came out and said "we are going to take your car", they would get a very stern letter written to them in the strongest language possible, or perhaps even called a bunch of rotters. I am all for good transport networks, but this is just a terrible plan. Visit Amsterdam, and study how to manage traffic skillfully in a dense, medieval city, with no traffic cameras whatsoever, with first rate public transport, where pedestrians, bikes, boats and cars coexist.
  • Tassos with 170k+ miles, and over 15 years old, this vehicle has had a full life. Maybe it's time for the scrapyard.
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