Following the announcement of an extended partnership between Volkswagen and Ford a few days ago, more details about the deal have surfaced on the areas both carmakers will work together on.
One of the main talking points is Ford’s use of Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) to design and build at least one fully electric vehicle for European customers by 2023. The Blue Oval is expecting to deliver more than 600,000 MEB-based vehicles in Europe over six years, and is already considering a second EV to support this effort.
The use of the MEB architecture is part of Ford’s USD11.5 billion investment in EVs worldwide, allowing it to meet the e-mobility needs of European customers, as well as the regulations stipulated in the Paris 2050 Agreement.
Aside from the platform sharing initiative, Volkswagen will also invest in Ford’s autonomous vehicle arm Argo AI, which is committed to deliver SAE Level 4-capable self-driving systems (SDS) for ride sharing and goods delivery in urban areas.
The deal will see Volkswagen invest USD2.6 billion in Argo AI by providing USD1 billion in cash, and contributing its USD1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving company, or AID, (wholly owned subsidiary of Audi AG), which will be absorbed by Argo AI.
The transaction will also see Volkswagen purchase Argo AI shares from Ford for USD500 million over three years, while Ford will invest the remaining USD600 million of its previous USD1 billion injection in Argo AI. After the deal is concluded, Argo AI’s post-money valuation will be over USD7 billion.
AID’s current base in Munich will therefore be Argo AI’s first engineering centre in Europe, and its fifth globally after its headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dearborn, Michigan, Cranbury, New Jersey, and Palo Alto, California.
Last but not least, Volkswagen and Ford remain committed to jointly develop commercial vans and pick-ups for key global markets. For pick-ups, Ford will engineer a medium-sized vehicle for customers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and South America, as early as 2022.
Meanwhile, both companies will work on larger commercial vans for European customers, also starting in 2022, with Volkswagen also developing a city van for sale in Europe and other select markets.
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