Ford's next generation of electric vehicles will be underpinned by Volkswagen's modular electric platform (MEB), after the two companies expanded their technology and platform sharing alliance.
According to the pair's media release, e-platform sharing will allow Ford to advance "its promise to deliver expressive passenger cars while taking advantage of Volkswagen’s scale".
Ford initially expects to deliver more than 600,000 vehicles on MEB in Europe, but that could grow if the alliance allows Ford to develop a second vehicle on the platform. The first Ford electric vehicle will be developed in Germany.
Along with their electric collaboration, the Ford-Volkswagen alliance will both invest equally in Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle company in which Ford has put its faith, and share its technology in their self-driving vehicles.
"Thanks to Ford and Volkswagen, Argo AI technology could one day reach nearly every market in North America and Europe, applied across multiple brands and to a multitude of vehicle architectures," said Bryan Salesky, co-founder of Argo AI.
Volkswagen will invest a total of US$2.6 billion ($3.7 billion) in Argo AI, committing US$1 billion ($1.4 billion) in funding and the 200 employees from its internal self-driving team, valued at US$1.6 billion ($2.27 billion).
It will purchase US$500 million ($713 million) worth of shares in the company from Ford over three years.
"Looking ahead, even more customers and the environment will benefit from Volkswagen’s industry-leading EV architecture. Our global alliance is beginning to demonstrate even greater promise, and we are continuing to look at other areas on which we might collaborate," said Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen.
"Scaling our MEB drives down development costs for zero-emissions vehicles, allowing for a broader and faster global adoption of electric vehicles. This improves the positions of both companies through greater capital efficiency, further growth and improved competitiveness.”