Volkswagen and Ford confirm partnership on electric cars, autonomous driving

ford backed argo begins testing third generation self driving prototype ai fusion detroit

Volkswagen and Ford previously established an alliance focused on commercial vehicles, but the two automakers will also work together on electric cars, according to a new report. Following reports of an expanded partnership, Ford and VW confirmed that they will work together in these two areas of technology.

The agreement will allow Ford to use Volkswagen’s MEB platform for electric cars. MEB will be the basis for a family of electric Volkswagens, starting with the I.D. 3 hatchback, and eventually encompassing models like a crossover based on the I.D. Crozz concept, as well as a reborn electric version of the classic Microbus. When it comes to electric cars, MEB is one of VW’s most valuable assets. Ford will launch an MEB-based vehicle in 2023, according to a press release from the automaker, but U.S. sales haven’t been confirmed.

This is Ford’s second notable electric car partnership. The Detroit automaker recently announced a deal with startup Rivian. Ford will invest $500 million in Rivian, and use the startup’s “skateboard” platform to develop a future electric vehicle. Rivian’s platform was designed for a pickup truck and SUV, so it’s likely Ford will use it for similar purposes. This is a very different application from the smaller cars Volkswagen’s MEB platform was designed to underpin.

In addition to the model co-developed with Rivian, Ford plans to launch an all-electric version of its bestselling F-150 pickup truck, and a “Mustang inspired” electric crossover. Access to Volkswagen’s MEB platform would give Ford an easy way to develop electric passenger cars to go with these more rugged vehicles, but Ford’s current disinterest in selling cars in North America could mean those models never reach our shores.

The second major component of the agreement is a Volkswagen investment in Argo A.I., the autonomous-driving tech startup already backed by Ford. The German automaker will contribute $2.6 billion, including $1 billion in funding and the creation of a $1.6 billion company called Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID). Staffed by veterans of VW’s in-house self-driving car development program, AID will function as Argo A.I.’s European arm. Volkswagen will also purchase $500 million in Argo A.I. shares from Ford over three years. Ford previously announced that it would invest $1 billion in Argo A.I. Both Ford and VW want to use Argo A.I.’s autonomous-driving tech in their future production cars.

The Volkswagen and Ford partnership currently focuses on commercial vehicles. The two automakers previously said that Ford would develop medium-sized pickup trucks launching in 2022 for global markets. Ford will follow that with a large commercial van for Europe, while VW will develop a smaller van aimed at urban use.

Updated on July 12, 2019: Added confirmation of VW’s investment in Argo A.I. and Ford’s use of the VW MEB platform.

Cars

Formula E races aren’t just exciting, they’re driving EV tech into the future

Formula E made its annual trip to the Big Apple, showing just how far the all-electric racing series has come. The cars are faster, and the racing is closer, but the tailpipe emissions are still at zero.
News

Will going electric help Ford win the pickup truck segment’s towing war?

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Cars

Tesla Model 3 is the world’s most-searched-for electric car, survey says

The Tesla Model 3 is the most-searched-for electric car in the world, according to a survey of Google search data. The Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S were far behind the Model 3 in second and third place, respectively.
Cars

I used to be a die-hard petrol-head, but Jaguar’s electric SUV converted me

Simply put, the Jaguar I-Pace is the first electric vehicle I’ve driven that hasn’t made me miss an internal combustion engine, or even once consider that I’m in an electric car. Regardless of how it is propelled, the I-Pace is a…
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Wearable chargers and A.I.-enhanced keyboards

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Polaris builds Lunar Rover Vehicle replica with Indian, Slingshot, and RZR parts

Polaris Industries employees worked with a NASA astronaut and members of the original Apollo 11 Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV) team to build a replica of the vehicle that landed on the moon. Most of the parts came from current Polaris vehicles.
Cars

2020 Lincoln Aviator adaptive suspension scans the road for potholes

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator's adaptive suspension system uses an array of sensors to detect potholes and other road imperfections, then preemptively adjusts settings to maintain a smooth ride.
Cars

Audi’s latest suspension system can help protect you during a crash

The Audi A8 is getting a more sophisticated adaptive suspension system for the European market. The system can raise or lower the body in a fraction of a second, improving ride, handling, and even safety, according to Audi.
Cars

For $25 a month, Uber will give you rides, rent you a scooter, and grab dinner

Uber is working on a monthly subscription plan that gives users access to discounted rides, free Uber Eats food delivery, and free JUMP bike and scooter rides. The plan is being tested in San Francisco and Chicago.
Cars

Amazon wants Alexa embedded in every vehicle to connect with smart homes

Amazon is following up on Alexa's penetration into smart homes with an incursion to embed the voice assistant in cars. There are third-party Alexa-compatible automotive aftermarket products, but the big score is in-vehicle software systems.
Cars

Toyota shows off mascot robots and tiny autonomous car for Tokyo Olympics

Toyota has shown off seven robots that it says will assist and entertain during the Tokyo Olympics next summer. The collection includes mascot and telepresence robots, as well as a tiny autonomous car to help during field events.
Cars

Acronis helps Formula E teams protect potentially race-winning data

Even race teams need good cybersecurity software. Acronis works with three teams in the all-electric Formula E series to protect and analyze data from race cars. It even devised a way to detect faulty sensors on cars.
Cars

Amazon helps Honda turn some of its cars into mobile mailboxes

Honda is making Key by Amazon available on a handful of its cars starting in July 2019. Owners of compatible cars who are also Amazon Prime members and have a valid HondaLink subscription can get packages delivered to their car's trunk.
Cars

Want to join the Android Army? Here are all the cars with Android Auto

Android Auto is great, but not every vehicle has it. If you want to know if your car compatible with Android Auto -- or if you're looking for a new ride that is -- we've compiled a list of all the cars that currently offer Android Auto…