Volkswagen and Ford Explore Self-driving and EV Partnerships
【Summary】So far, we know that both parties have expressed interest in co-developing commercial vehicles, which includes driverless cars and EVs.
The auto industry is transitioning into a new phase, as businesses prepare to roll out self-driving and electrified vehicles. The effort required to develop automotive technologies is massive, forcing some car brands to explore new strategies and collaborations.
Recently, Detroit-based Ford and automotive giant Volkswagen announced exploratory talks about partnerships involving autonomous vehicles and electric cars. At this stage, discussions have not materialized into formal plans. However, such activities within the space have become frequent in the past few years, with tech companies forming alliances and partnerships with well-established auto brands in order to gain a foothold in the market.
Joining Forces, Pressuring New Players
Very little information has been released about potential Ford-Volkswagen partnerships. So far, we know that both parties have expressed interest in co-developing commercial vehicles, which includes driverless cars and EVs. A consolidation of automotive projects between the two groups would put pressure on other automotive businesses in the sector, including EV maker Tesla and Waymo.
Such arrangements would also allow both Ford and Volkswagen to effectively compete with General Motors – a current leader in the race to build fully autonomous vehicles.
"The world's biggest and fifth-biggest automakers want to join forces to move into electric vehicles and autonomous driving," said Handelsblatt, a business newspaper in Germany.
"The extent of the planned cooperation between the erstwhile rivals comes as a surprise to the industry, but reflects the scope of the transition in mobility and the pressure from new players."
The two companies have several options when it comes to structuring partnerships within the industry (suggested by William Boston from MarketWatch). Volkswagen could consider taking a stake in Ford's autonomous vehicles arm. Alternatively, the two parties could start fresh by forming a new company. The latter option would enable both businesses to share ownership of technologies, patents and projects. Furthermore, Ford and Volkswagen could open up the venture to include additional partnerships in the future.
Memorandum of Understanding
According to a report by Reuters, Ford and Volkswagen will provide an update about potential collaborations by the end of the year. A memorandum of understanding has been issued, though it's too early to make any conclusions about the partnership without official announcements from the auto brands.
"Too early to speculate on any details," explained Jennifer Flake, a Ford spokeswoman.
"Our MOU (memorandum of understanding) with VW covers conversations about potential collaborations across a number of areas. It is premature to share additional details at this time."
Speculating further into this matter, a collaboration involving EVs could be on the table, based on Volkswagen's EV goals and Electrify America projects. The automaker is of the view that mass adoption of EVs will happen prolifically when costs become lower than diesel-powered vehicles.
Volkswagen could also be looking to expand its presence in the US. Ford and the German car manufacturer are already working together in an EV joint venture (IONITY), with objectives to develop ultrafast EV charging infrastructure across Europe. Other participants in the joint venture include BMW and Daimler.
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
Waymo Receives Permit to Participate in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Pilot
How Do Autonomous Cars Deal with Double-parked Vehicles?
Kitty Hawk and Boeing Form Partnership to Make Flying Cars Safer
Waymo to Bring Driverless Cars to France and Japan via Nissan-Renault Partnership
Porsche Forecasts EVs Going Mainstream
Zomato Tests Drones for Food Deliveries in India
Alibaba Brings Tmall Genie to Audi, Honda and Renault Vehicles
Driverless Sensor Startup Sense Photonics Raises $26 Million in Series A Funding
- Tesla's Record Profits Were Without Emission Credit Sales to Other Automakers
- Mapbox to Help Drivers Navigate More Easily With Advanced Location Technology From ‘what3words’ in New Partnership
- Elon Musk’s Next Big Thing, ‘Humanoid Robots’ Powered by the Same AI Used for its Self-Driving Vehicles
- BMW iVentures Invests in Silicon Valley-based Self-Driving Truck Startup Kodiak Robotics
- Lidar Startup Quanergy Demonstrates an Industry-First Optical Phased Array Lidar Sensor with a 100 Meter Range
- Ford Motor Begins Pre-production of the F-150 Lightning and is Boosting its Investment Due to Strong Demand
- Lidar Startup Sense Photonics Announces Development Program With a Major Detroit-based OEM
- Jeep’s Future Includes Electric SUVs, Autonomous Off-Roading, and Drones
- Toyota to Offer New Replacement Parts for the Land Cruiser to Help Owners Keep Them on the Road
- General Motors Could Replace the Camaro With an Electric-Performance Sedan