Auto manufacturers Ford and the Volkswagen Group have announced plans to strengthen their global alliance and release an electric vehicle by 2023. Much to Elon Musk and Tesla’s dismay, VW CEO Herbert Diess explained their goal is to “turn the electric car from a niche product into a mass phenomenon.”
Business Insider reports that Ford and VW recently announced plans to strengthen the companies’ alliance and work together to develop an electric vehicle by 2023. “Ford will become the first additional automaker to use Volkswagen’s dedicated electric vehicle architecture and Modular Electric Toolkit — or MEB — to deliver a high-volume zero-emission vehicle in Europe starting in 2023,” the companies said in a joint statement.
This partnership will see Ford being the first to use VW’s “modular electric toolkit,” or MEB, an electric vehicle platform that aims to make the production of electric cars cheaper. VW will also follow Ford’s lead, investing in self-driving startup ArgoAI; Ford has already invested $1 billion in the company, VW will invest a further $2.6 billion.
VW CEO Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett discussed the new alliance at a press conference in New York. Diess told analysts, investors, and journalists at the conference: “We aim to make the MEB a new standard for our industry and thus turn the electric car from a niche product into a mass phenomenon. Opening the MEB drives down production costs, opens up cost savings potential, and allows for electric vehicles at a lower price.”
Hackett commented on the partnership stating: “While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up and working with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach. Unlocking the synergies across a range of areas allows us to showcase the power of our global alliance in this era of smart vehicles for a smart world.”
ArgoAI CEO Brian Salesky commented on the company’s investments stating: “Thanks to Ford and VW, our technology could reach nearly every global market, could applied to multiple vehicle brands a variety of vehicle platforms.” It would seem that self-driving and electric car startups such as Waymo, Uber, Lyft, and Tesla could be facing much fiercer competition in the market than previously anticipated.