Ford and Volkswagen have jointly announced the expansion of their global alliance will include electric vehicles, along with a massive investment in autonomous technology and joint development of commercial vehicles.
The deal allows Ford to make use of the German giant’s MEB modular electric platform for “at least one high volume fully electric vehicle in Europe”, to launch in 2023. Ford plans to deliver more than 600,000 MEB-based vehicles over a six-year period from 2023, though no specific bodystyle has been confirmed for the first model.
VW CEO Herbert Diess talked about the possibility of a second MEB-based model line for Ford, too, suggesting the next model could "almost double" the supply of MEB components to Ford.
Volkswagen will supply the platform plus "battery packs and structural components" to the US brand. Ford will design its own car at its facility in Cologne, Germany, but is yet to announce where it will assemble the model. Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed that faciity would be one of its existing European plants, however.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess claimed the scaling of the MEB platform in this way "drives down development costs for zero-emissions vehicles, allowing for a broader and faster adoption," saying: "This improves the position of both companies through greater capital efficiency, further growth and improved competitiveness". Both manufacturers will continue to explore further joint avenues into electric mobility.
Diess also confirmed VW's intention to have produced 15 million MEB-based EVs globally in the next ten years - with a lineup of 70 all-electric models across its brand portfolio. These will include "high volume small city cars and large limousines, through to electrically powered camper vans".
The VW Chairman confirmed why it is putting almost all of its eggs in the EV basket for the near future, claiming he does not see alternatives such as synthetic, low emission fuels gaining greater market penetation until "at least the middle of the next decade" - and even then the scale will not be extensive enough.