Official: Ford To Launch MEB-Based EV In 2023, VW To Buy A Stake In Argo AI

It’s finally official; Ford will produce a battery-electric vehicle based on VW’s MEB platform in its Cologne factory in Germany while VW will invest $2.6 billion in Ford’s Argo AI self-driving unit.

The two car makers have agreed on expanding their global alliance after months of negotiations, and were announced earlier today during a live press conference in New York.

Ford is going to use VW’s EV-specific MEB architecture for an all-new electric car targeted for the European market. The company expects to sell over 600,000 vehicles based on the MEB platform in Europe over the course of six years, starting in 2023.

Also Watch: VW And Ford To Announce Expansion Of Alliance; Watch The LIVE Press Conference Right Here

The German carmaker has invested $7 billion in its MEB architecture since 2016, aiming to use it in around 15 million cars across its VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat brands. The first model to use it will be the VW ID.3, set for a full reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September. Ford said that it’s currently negotiating a second MEB-based EV model.

VW on the other hand will invest $2.6 billion in Argo AI, with $1 billion being direct funding. The agreement will turn VW’s own Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit (AID) into Argo’s new European headquarters. The AID is currently valued at $1.6 billion and employs around 200 people. With the new agreement, Argo AI will have over 700 employees globally.

VW will buy $500 million of Argo AI shares from Ford over the next three years, making them equal partners at the self-driving technology company. The deal will raise the value of Argo AI to $7 billion. Argo AI is currently working on the development of a Level 4 autonomous-driving system.

“While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up and working with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said. “Unlocking the synergies across a range of areas allows us to showcase the power of our global alliance in this era of smart vehicles for a smart world.”

“Scaling our MEB drives down development costs for zero-emissions vehicles, allowing for a broader and faster global adoption of electric vehicles,” added VW CEO Herbert Diess. “This improves the positions of both companies through greater capital efficiency, further growth and improved competitiveness.”

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  • geez! that group photo.

  • Giannis Antypas

    And then again,
    there is a start-up called Tesla

    and it has got both EV and self-driving capabilities
    – already for years, before literally everybody
    – on its very own, unexperienced, from scratch, without resources and aid from others
    – making components and developing technology of extremely high costs
    – building up even infrastructure (chargers etc)

    Those dinosaurs what the heck have they been doing wrong
    to be surpassed by a start-up that is still showing up to the masses what true innovation means?

    • Rocket

      What have the dinosaurs been doing? They’ve been operating at a profit. So while I appreciate what Tesla has accomplished, I’ll be a whole lot more impressed when they start actually making money. That is the point, is it not?

      • Giannis Antypas

        Tesla has to deal with investors too in a momentum that has been far worse in cost effectiveness terms compared to latecomers,
        for sure Tesla should have 0 solvency and 0 resources when compared to the old dinosaurs,
        and still Tesla has the potential to be techncally efficient so that it doesn’t need to call a cheeky name for its self-driving-capabilities ‘department’ or its EV ‘platform’.

        Yes whatever Tesla has been doing right or wrong with its business plan,
        a newcomer has made the impossible whereas the dinosaurs are still tryng to get there.

    • Hot Twink

      Self-driving…? Yeah, into large, bright red firetrucks, under tractor-trailers, highway dividers… the list goes on, and on…

    • OS

      Tesla has battery tech that is ahead of others currently…but they don’t have full self driving tech. Autopilot is just an advanced adaptive cruise control..not self driving. Tesla is behind Argo and Google/waymo on self driving tech.

  • Felipe Politano

    Remember when Ford had a beef with Tesla over the Model E name, which had to be changed into the Model 3? Maybe that’s the Ford Model E they’re talking about, which would make a lot of sense given its importance for going mainstream on EVs… and which sits pretty nicely alongside the sportier Mach E in the lineup.

    • Benjamin B.

      Would he hilarious if Ford used the Model E nameplate and trolled Tesla’s S3XY lineup.

      • JqC

        Funny, but could backfire big time. Just Ford marketing Tesla.

  • Felipe Politano

    Now make something with a TDI and a Powershift transmission, how about that

    • Benjamin B.

      No but the next generation Amarok 1 tonne pickup truck will use a hybrid 10-speed automatic transmission with integrated motor with either a turbocharged Ford or VW engine.

  • LJ

    All I see is three very punchable faces.

    • JqC

      LOL

  • 2023?!! What are they doing, hand-carving each one out of stone or something?

  • OS

    absolutely huge win for VW…Ford will subsidize and pay licensing fees for the MEB platform, so VW will essentially make back the billions that they invested to create this platform..and they are getting their hands on Argo’s latest level 4 self driving tech for Audi and Porsche..and Argo is ahead of tesla and maybe even google/waymo right now. This is a game changer. Mercedes and BMW are in trouble..

    • JqC

      I don’t share your optimism on the “Argo is ahead of Tesla” aspect, but I do agree with you that this minor consolidation is a good move. I think it’s the shape of things to come for these two brands, as well, and the industry as a whole. I’m not sure about Argo and their progress but I will investigate based upon this article. But I am loth to believe anyone else has the sort of real-world autonomous data possessed by TSLA at this time.

      Seems it is also LIDAR based and is running computer simulations of road conditions. They’ll have cagillions of autonomous miles in simulation, but less in real world situations. I think that there is a great merit in the simulations, but Tesla’s real world data isn’t just compelling, it’s bound to inspire more trust from drivers. Which is important. And being based upon visual recognition, it will likely be a little more versatile. Don’t get me wrong; data companies developing self driving tech…. I’m a big supporter. But the manufacturer-owned data behind Teslas that are already equipped to operate in the world and are actually working already: that’s priceless, and very powerful branding.

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