The Volkswagen Group is putting aside auto industry competitiveness to help get more electric cars on the road. The company is in talks to share technology from its Audi and Porsche electric cars with other automakers, Automotive News reports.
VW is shopping around Premium Platform Electric, the basic underpinnings for Audi and Porsche electric cars that will start appearing in 2021. Sharing it will create economies of scale that will make building large numbers of luxury electric cars financially viable, Ulrich Widmann, head of development at Audi for the Premium Platform Electric project, said in an interview with Automotive News.
“There’s definitely interest” from other automakers in the technology, Widmann told Automotive News, without specifying which automakers were interested. He noted that the massive cost of developing electric car tech from scratch might make VW’s platform an attractive option for smaller firms like Aston Martin, McLaren, and Maserati. BMW and Mercedes-Benz shouldn’t be ruled out either, Widmann said. It’s worth noting that most of these companies already have their own EV tech in production or under development, and none have publicly confirmed a partnership with Volkswagen.
That doesn’t mean VW isn’t serious about sharing its tech. The company has already inked a deal with Ford to share its MEB platform, which will underpin a series of mass-market electric cars beginning with the Volkswagen I.D.3 hatchback. The deal will see Ford use MEB for a future electric model, while Volkswagen will get access to Ford’s autonomous driving tech.
Volkswagen hopes to be building 1 million electric cars a year by 2025, across multiple brands. Audi alone plans to launch 30 hybrid or all-electric models by that year, according to Automotive News. Audi will follow up on the recently launched E-Tron SUV with the E-Tron GT, a sleek hatchback based on the Porsche Taycan’s J1 platform. A Q4 E-Tron based on the MEB platform will launch in 2021, followed by a midsize sedan that may take aim at Tesla.
Increasingly complex technology and stricter regulations have made new cars much more expensive to develop. That’s convinced many automakers to partner up. The Toyota Supra is based on the BMW Z4, and neither sports car would exist if Toyota and BMW hadn’t decided to collaborate. Toyota and Subaru also recently reaffirmed a partnership to develop sports cars and hybrids.
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