According to Volkswagen CEO Diess, the partners are also examining other forms of cooperation. The cooperation partners emphasize that their alliance does not provide for capital links between the two manufacturers.
Ford will be one of the first car manufacturers outside the Volkswagen Group to use Volkswagen’s electric drive system for at least one of its models. This is the so-called modular electric drive system (MEB), in the development of which VW has invested the equivalent of around $7 billion since 2016. At the beginning of 2019, Volkswagen announced that it would also open the technology for the MEB to competitors.
From 2023, the emission-free Ford model developed on the basis of VW technology and mass-produced will be delivered in Europe. Ford expects to sell 600,000 of these vehicles in Europe within six years and is considering launching a second model of this type on the European market.
According to Volkswagen’s plans, more than 15 million new vehicles from the Volkswagen Group alone will be based on the MEB in the coming decade. Ford, for its part, will invest a total of $11.5 billion in the electrification of its worldwide range of vehicles.
Together with Ford, Volkswagen will invest in Argo AI (Pittsburgh, PA), a company specializing in software for autonomous driving, whose estimated enterprise value is expected to rise to more than seven billion US dollars. This collaboration will make Argo AI’s Self-Driving System (SDS) the first autonomous driving system to be commercialized in both Europe and the United States. Volkswagen and Ford intend to use the SDS in their own vehicles independently of each other in order to expand the respective mobility services of the two companies. Argo AI’s SDS will enable fully automated driving according to SAE Level 4 and, in particular, open up new perspectives for ridesharing and delivery services in city centres.
Ford and Volkswagen each intend to invest approximately $2.6 billion in Argo AI. Through the investment, the two car manufacturers will together hold a significant majority in Argo AI. As part of Volkswagen’s investment, the company will contribute its subsidiary Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID), valued at $1.6 billion, which is involved in similar developments to Argo AI. AID’s Munich location becomes Argo AI’s European headquarters.