Ford-Volkswagen partnership could go as far as sharing the latter’s MEB platform to develop the American brand’s EVs
Ford does not have a big portfolio of electric cars to boast about in the international markets and the scenario will change in the near future. Ted Cannis, Global Director, Electrification at Ford Motor Company went as far as calling the Focus Electric not too exciting due to the low range of just 122 km on a single charge in 2016.
Despite getting higher capacity battery pack with EPA estimated range of 185 km, it fortunes couldn’t be reversed. Ford could be bringing back the Mach 1 nameplate for an electric crossover due for debut in 2020 with nearly 500 km range. With Ford streamlining its operations by focussing more on SUV body styles, it has not forgotten about its electric future.
As much as 16 new electric vehicles are planned to be launched by 2022 and Volkswagen could give a much needed helping hand in this project. According to the hint from VW’s Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter, the German brand could allow Ford access to the electric MEB flexible architecture as part of the new partnership.
He said, even though no decision has been made yet, it’s theoretically possible for Volkswagen Group to provide access of MEB to other manufacturers outside the German conglomerate. That’s as far as the rumours go and we do not yet know if Ford wants to use VW’s technology on electric vehicles or not.
If Ford opts to use VW’s expertise, it might bring down the lead-time and costs involved in developing new zero-emission vehicles. But, it is no secret that Ford even has its EV technology at a fairly advanced stage already. What is certain for now is Ford and VW exploring strategic alliance to consolidate each other’s competitiveness.
They have signed a MoU to examine potential projects of mutual importance and a range of commercial vehicles is confirmed to be in the pipeline. For the Indian market, Ford has joined hands with Mahindra and initially the latter will be supplying a small capacity petrol engine with BSVI compliance by 2020. The first product out of their synergy will likely be a mid-size SUV before the end of this decade.