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Ford and Volkswagen agree partnership to gain "global scale" in tech

Electric car charging

A joint venture between Ford and Volkswagen Group is hoped to give both car manufacturers cost effective leaps forward in developing self-driving and electric cars.

The companies have just announced that Volkswagen will become an equal shareholder in Ford's self-driving cars operation, Argo AI, and Ford will gain access to Volkswagen's electric vehicle technology.

They hope the collaboration will give them "significant global scale" in the creation of these new technologies.

At least one high volume Ford electric car will be developed by 2023 using Volkswagen's MEB platform - Volkswagen will supply battery packs and structural components to Ford, which will design and build its own car within Europe.

Scaling up in this way drives down development costs for zero emission vehicles, according to Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

He added: "This improves the position of both companies through greater capital efficiency, further growth and improved competitiveness". Both manufacturers will continue to explore further joint avenues into electric mobility. Volkswagen Group aims to have built 15 million electric vehicles in the next decade.

Both companies believe the Argo AI operation is the first autonomous driving operation with potential to grow rapidly - road trials in the US start next year and Ford believes the rollout could begin in 2021.

Ford chief executive Jim Hackett said: "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".

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