Volkswagen and Ford are exploring the possibility of putting their best minds together for the purpose of developing the future of autonomous and electric vehicles.
Reuters reports that plans for a strategic alliance could help both companies save billions of dollars in research and development costs and allow for shared platforms and self-driving technology.
This news follows the companies' announcement in June that they were looking to collaborate on the development of future commercial vehicles and other projects. Ford's president of global markets, Jim Farley, called this move an example of Ford’s commitment to “leveraging adaptive business models.”
Volkswagen's in-house MEB electric vehicle platform could form the basis for shared development. However, Frank Witter, the company's CFO, has said there has been no decision on whether other companies will be allowed to use the template. The first MEB-based models are scheduled to roll out of Volkswagen's new electric vehicle factory in Zwickau, Germany, in November 2019.
Both carmakers are keen to introduce new electric vehicles in the European market, where strict regulations are being imposed on the development and sale of petrol and diesel vehicles. Volkswagen has already announced its intent to produce 2-3 million full-electric cars by 2025.
Ford and Volkswagen are co-owners of the Ionity scheme alongside BMW and Daimler. The Ionity scheme involves the development of a network of ultra-fast charging stations across Europe.
This potential alliance would not be the first of its kind. As recent as last month, Honda invested $2.75 billion in General Motor's self-driving division. The Japanese and American companies plan to challenge tech giants Apple and Google with a new range of driverless taxis.
Established car manufacturers around the world have begun to shift focus and look entirely at research and development of zero-emission and self-driving vehicles. This is mainly to counter global legislation aimed at reducing pollution.