Autonomous driving technology investments and electric vehicle platform sharing at the top of the list of priorities.
Ford has invested in Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle platform company, and Volkswagen will further invest in the company to the tune of $2.6 billion. The resulting product will be applied to each OEMs’ own vehicles. Furthermore, Ford will officially use VW’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) to bring one (at least at first) 100% electric vehicle to the European market by 2023.
Everyone’s a winner in this deal. Argo AI, with a valuation of more than $7 billion thanks in part to Ford and VW’s money, is set to deliver an SAE Level 4-capable self-driving system, or SDS, for ride sharing and goods delivery services in populated urban areas. Both car companies will have an equal stake in Argo AI. The outcome of the development will be independently applied to purpose-built people and goods movement vehicles.
Volkswagen’s MEB platform is now officially set to underpin up to 600,000 Ford vehicles over a six-year period starting in 2023 for Europe. The use of the MEB will be for commercial vehicles, numerous crossovers including the Ford Explorer. Ford’s press release also happens to mention the Ford Mustang so if there was ever any doubts left, here’s confirmation that an electric Mustang is on the way.
To be clear, the Volkswagen-Ford global alliance does not involve cross-ownership between the companies. This joining of minds and resources will create significant annual savings for both car builders. Plans for commercial-vehicle sharing are still part of the deal starting for 2022.