Ford and Volkswagen have announced that they will partner up on the development of electric and self-driving cars. The partnership aims to cut development and manufacturing costs. VW said it would invest $3.1 billion in Ford’s Argo Ai self-driving unit, but projected up to $20 billion in revenue by sharings its MED EV architecture with Ford. The companies are also discussing extending EV technology sharing to other Ford cars.
Ford expects to launch autonomous vehicles by 2021 but says commercialization will occur years later. The company also plans to build more than 600,000 vehicles in Europe within the next six years. The components of these vehicles will be sourced from VW.
VW seems to be an initial winner in this deal. Long term pay-off on these investments is unclear, as is the case across the global auto industry.
As analysts have noted, this is a continuation of the recent trend of automaker partnerships as they face capital intensive projects, like EV and AV, as well as, more stringent regulations and projections of declining sales in their traditional goods and services.
Techstars announces new mobility startup batch
Techstars Detroit, formerly known as Techstars Mobility, has announced a new group of startups that will join the accelerator program. Ted Serbinski, the head of the accelerator, told journalists that the new incoming class represents a new Detroit, with 60% being international and 40% of startups with female founders. The class includes:
Airspace Link (Detroit, US) – creating “sky highways” for safer drone operations; Alpha Drive (New York, US) – autonomous vehicle AI validation platform; Le Car (Novi, US) – personal car concierge utilizing AI to match vehicles to user’s preference; Octane (Fremont, US) – providing connections to automotive events; PPAP Manager (Chihuahua, Mexico) – PPAP (documents required for automotive parts production) approval streamlining; Ruksack (Toronto, Canada) – connecting travelers with local experts to assist them in trip planning; Soundtrack AI (Tel Aviv, Israel) – predictive maintenance platform; Teporto (Tel Aviv, Israel) – “a new commute modality” adapting commuter service to commuter needs; Unlimited Engineering (Barcelona, Spain) – modular light electric vehicles; Zown (Toronto, Canada) – using real estate for new mobility marketplace.