Volkswagen and Ford intensify their strategic alliance. In an interview, Volkswagen’s CEO explains the Group’s three strategic goals.
At a glance – which goals are you pursuing with the expansion of the Ford Alliance?
Herbert Diess: We are expanding our alliance with Ford with three strategic goals in mind. Firstly, we want to establish MEB as the industry standard for electric vehicles. Secondly, we want to become the market leader for light commercial vehicles and mid-size pickups. And thirdly, we want to participate in the rapidly growing market for mobility services. Once the vehicles are autonomous, many new business opportunities will open up.
Together, Ford and Volkswagen sold around 16.7 million vehicles in 2018. This gives us great leverage and significant economies of scale. And size makes a difference – both in electric mobility and in autonomous driving. Together we can seamlessly serve global markets and better utilize our automotive plants to optimize the supply chain. Ford is also a good geostrategic complement for us. This will strengthen our presence in the USA.
How will Ford use the MEB and why is that so significant?
Ford will use Volkswagen’s electric vehicle architecture and modular electrical construction kit to manufacture at least one emission-free vehicle for European customers in mass production from 2023. We have agreed to supply 600,000 MEB platform systems including battery packs and other components. In addition, we are currently discussing a completely new supply contract for a second vehicle. This could almost double the supply of our MEB platforms to Ford.
This will help us to expand electric mobility even faster. At Volkswagen alone, we intend to produce around 15 million vehicles on the MEB in the next ten years. Volkswagen is already developing and producing 27 different models on the MEB platform in the first wave. By 2028 there will be almost 70 models.
What are the advantages of this alliance in the field of light commercial vehicles and pickups?
Our alliance makes us the market leader in light commercial vehicles and pickups – with significant economies of scale. This cooperation alone generates synergies of several hundred million euros. We are well on schedule to develop commercial vehicles and pickups for both brands from 2022.
Why joining forces in the field of autonomous driving?
Especially with self-driving systems, the entire industry faces the same challenges: high development costs, a lack of global standards, the necessity of high-quality sensor technology, the anticipation of customer requirements and the search for talent to make the whole thing possible. If we share the necessary investments, we can better manage the high costs of developing software and hardware for autonomous vehicles. We expect synergy effects of several hundred million dollars.
Our cooperation will also facilitate the development of common test criteria and global standards for autonomous vehicles and cooperation with regulatory authorities worldwide. This will improve our opportunity to establish our SDS-kit as one of the leading technical platforms of the future.
What is the investment and what exactly does Argo AI bring in?
With our joint investment in Argo AI, we are securing superior engineering expertise for ourselves. We gain access to a world-class talent pool of SDS developers and intellectual property, while Argo AI receives the funding it needs to drive technology leadership in self-driving systems.
In return for our acquisition, Argo AI will receive 500 million dollars in cash, equivalent to Ford’s previous investment. We have also committed another 1 billion dollars in financing and are contributing our existing Audi Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) unit to Argo AI. However, Ford and Volkswagen will then pursue independent plans to launch Autonomous Driving and produce their own vehicles.
What do you expect in return?
Here, too, we expect significant economies of scale. Our investment shortens the time-to-market and significantly increases Argo AI’s market potential. The CEO of Argo AI, Bryan Salesky, is a former Google manager. He has built a strong team of SDS developers who will help us meet the challenges of autonomous driving. Argo AI’s expertise includes robotics, machine learning, computer vision, sensors, computer and vehicle integration. They also have the necessary experience for commercialization. It fits perfectly.
With Argo AI’s software developers, we will analyze the huge amounts of data required to understand region-specific driving behavior, road objects, and unique conditions in different locations. This will allow us to develop region-specific market solutions. Argo AI is currently testing in five cities: Detroit, Palo Alto, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and Miami. The plan is to add another US city this year and expand to Europe next year.
But all this is only the beginning! I am confident that together we can offer reliable, safe and comfortable services for autonomous driving. Intelligent services that consumers and businesses alike want to use to move people and goods. The potential is very promising!
What are the types of electric drivers
today? How many people use the electric car for work? How many cars are part of
a fleet company? How many people, instead, use it for their own profession? How
many people use if for private reasons?
evway, the most complete and reliable
professional App for European EV-Drivers, has considered the presence of
different EV-Drivers and to respond to their needs has created 3 different types
of accounts: private, business and corporate. Each user, in this way, has the
possibility to choose the type of Profile that best suits him.
All profile are personal and characterized
by personal name, surname and email of the accountholder.
The Private Profile is for those who use
the car for personal reasons. The user
purchase ladybugs, necessary credits for charge on over 100.000 charging points
around Europe, directly from the App via PayPal, credit card, Android Pay and
Apple Pay, and receive the invoice in his own name.
The Business Profile, is dedicated to all
users who need invoice in his own company – usually those who practice a
profession and use the car for work. In this case the user purchases ladibugs directly
from the App and receives the invoice against the purchase.
The Corporate Profile, instead, is dedicated to companies that have a company’s
fleet and want to receive a single cumulative invoice rather than having one
for each employee. With a Corporate
agreement, the company can access to a control panel that shows all charging
data of its employees, he can set usage thresholds and know in real time the
fleet’s consumptions. The charging sessions are reported and invoiced
For a combined usage of the car, during the
week for work and in the weekend for private usage, it’s possible to set
multiple profile. Thanks to the multiple-account during the week the user can
charge with the business/corporate profile, while in the weekend he can use the
Thanks to the flexibility of its own platform, the evway App respond to needs of any type of users.
“Safety First for Automated Driving” (SaFAD) white paper emphasizes the importance of safety by design for automated vehicles.
Emphasizing safety by design, 11 industry leaders across the automotive and automated driving technology spectrum today published “Safety First for Automated Driving”, (SaFAD), a non-binding organized framework for the development, testing and validation of safe automated passenger vehicles.
These 11 leaders — Aptiv, Audi, Baidu, BMW, Continental, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, HERE, Infineon, Intel and Volkswagen — comprise the broadest representation across the industry and have published, to date, the largest report on how to build, test and operate a safe automated vehicle.
“In order to reach safe and consistent global development and deployment of automated vehicles, it is critical that we work across our space, with other industry leaders and regulators, to develop an universal safety criteria for automated vehicles,” says Dr. Michael Hafner, Head of Drive Technologies and Automated Driving at Mercedes-Benz Cars Development (Daimler AG).
The SaFAD white paper authors’ purpose is to emphasize the importance of safety by design, along with verification and validation, as the industry works toward creating standards for automated driving.
For the first time, SaFAD offers automated vehicle (AV) developers and operators a system for clear traceability that can prove AVs to be “safer than the average driver” through components such as cameras or steering systems.
It is also the first time presenting a summary of widely known safety-by-design and verification and validation methods of Level 3 and Level 4 automated driving as defined by the SAE (J3016).
The foundation of the SaFAD white paper is its 12 Guiding Principles, which are further refined into capabilities of the automated vehicle, from which safe-by-design elements are derived to support the capability and achieve the guiding principles. “ Safety First for Automated Driving” combines the expertise from key companies in the automaker, supplier and technology industries to help direct development of safe automated vehicles.
Interest in and development of automated driving technology has grown at a dramatic rate over the past several years, fueled by the goal of reducing fatalities related to vehicle crashes, improvement of traffic flow and the introduction of new mobility concepts. This rapid growth brings a wide range of development methodologies from established companies and the growing roster of new enterprises.
With publication of “Safety First for Automated Driving,” authors and experts from each of the participating partners will present the group’s work at industry and technology conferences internationally over the next several months.
Fully charged as it accelerates along its
Future Highway 2025, the BMW Group is adjusting frequency to up the
tempo of its electromobility expansion programme. The company will now
achieve the total of 25 electrified models previously announced for
2025 two years earlier, in 2023. Thanks to flexible
vehicle architectures for fully-electric, plug-in hybrid and
combustion engine drive trains, the company is able to respond quickly
to changing conditions. More than half of the 25 models will be fully electric.
“We are moving up a gear in the transformation towards sustainable
mobility, thereby making our company fit for the future: Over the past
two years, we have consistently taken numerous decisions that we are
now bringing to the roads. By 2021, we will have doubled our sales of
electrified vehicles compared with 2019,” said Harald
Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in
Munich on Tuesday. “We will offer 25 electrified vehicles already in
2023 – two years earlier than originally planned. We expect to see a
steep growth curve towards 2025: Sales of our electrified vehicles
should increase by an average of 30 percent every year.”
As part of the new #NEXTGen communications format,
the BMW Group is showcasing the next generation of mobility and next
steps it’s taking in that direction. The BMW Vision M
NEXT provides a glimpse of the dynamic future of the BMW
brand in the form of a striking electrified sportscar. The BMW Vision
M NEXT is clearly focused on the person driving the vehicle, with
intelligent technology to transform them into the ultimate driver. The
BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster previews the future
of BMW Motorrad with alternative drive forms. This highly emotional
motorcycle preserves the identity and iconic BMW Motorrad appearance,
but also offers a new form of driving fun.
“Our vision is clear: sustainable mobility, produced in a sustainable
manner. We have set ourselves the goal of only buying electricity from
renewable energy sources for all our locations worldwide from 2020,”
said Krüger. “We fulfil our social responsibility –
in all its different facets. We are firmly committed to emission-free
driving. At the same time, we stand by our corporate responsibility
towards our employees, shareholders and investors.”
The BMW Group: a pioneer in electromobility
As an e-mobility pioneer, the BMW Group is already a leading supplier
of electrified vehicles. By the end of 2019, the company aims to have
more than half a million vehicles with fully-electric or plug-in
hybrid drive trains on the roads. Within two years, the company will
offer five fully-electric series-production vehicles: Alongside the
BMW i3, with more than 150,000 units built to date,
this year will see the start of production of the
fully-electric MINI at Plant Oxford (UK). This will
be followed in 2020 by the fully-electric BMW iX3
from Shenyang (China) and, in 2021, by the BMW iNEXT,
which will be produced in Dingolfing (Germany), and the BMW
i4 from Plant Munich (Germany).
Including its extensive fleet of plug-in hybrids, the BMW Group has
the widest range of electrified vehicles on the market. Updated,
extended electric-range plug-in-hybrid versions of the BMW 3 Series,
BMW 7 Series and BMW X5 were presented alongside the new BMW X3
plug-in hybrid at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. A few weeks later,
the updated plug-in hybrid variant of the BMW X1 Long Wheelbase
Version, which is produced locally for the Chinese market, was shown
at the Shanghai Auto Show. Later this summer, plug-in hybrid versions
of the BMW 5 Series and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer with
next-generation technology and longer electric range will also be
released. These will be followed next year by the BMW X1 and the BMW 3
Series Touring as plug-in hybrid models. This diversity of electrified
drive concepts underlines the importance of technology openness on the
road to sustainable mobility.
The BMW Group has always promoted emission-free mobility and
advocated for its effective support. However, the demands of future
mobility will be multifaceted. There will not be just one single
solution that meets the mobility needs of all customers around the
world. People living in rural areas, for instance, need different
technological solutions for mobility than those in cities.
BMW eDrive Zones standard in plug-in hybrids from 2020
The effective role plug-in hybrids can play in achieving
emission-free mobility in cities is demonstrated by the BMW
eDrive Zones function, which will be standard in BMW
plug-in hybrids from 2020: In cities that establish “green zones”
solely for emission-free driving, geofencing technology will be able
to recognise these automatically. When the vehicle enters one of these
zones, it will automatically switch to pure electric driving mode. In
this way, BMW is paving the way for plug-in hybrids to receive the
same access rights to green zones as fully-electric vehicles, since
they behave the same in these areas.
This new type of operating strategy significantly
boosts the potential of plug-in hybrid vehicles to reduce
emissions. Increasing the use of electric driving not only optimises
efficiency, but also helps reduce operating costs for customers –
especially in city traffic. After the idea was born, the first
real-life test for the BMW eDrive Zones function is the BMW Group’s
“Electric City Drive” pilot project, in conjunction with the
City of Rotterdam and the local Erasmus University.
New #NEXTGen communications format
With the “BMW Group #NEXTGen” format, the company is taking a new
approach to presenting its future technologies, services and products.
The BMW Group invited international journalists, analysts and other
stakeholders to the BMW Welt in Munich to experience six world
premieres and two highly emotional vision vehicles. The programme will
be rounded off with a Global Influencer Day on 26 June.
In this way, the company is building on its existing global commitment to international auto shows and tech and future fairs with a regular independent format for individual mobility “made by the BMW Group”. In addition to world premieres of new models, a particular focus will be on experiencing the latest technological developments from all D+ACES areas of the company: Design, Autonomous Driving, Connectivity, Electrification, Services.
In the UK, 7 homes are burgled every minute, and yet 14% still have no security measures in place. Being away from home for long periods of time can be a cause of anxiety for many drivers. However, now that car and home technologies are merging, connected technology can be used to monitor security in and around the home from the car. As well as being able to keep an eye on pets and deter potential intruders, drivers can receive alerts in the event of an emergency or break in, enabling them to act quickly to deal with any situation.
BMW’s partnership with SmartThings means that as well as being able to remotely control home comforts such as heating and lighting from the dashboard, drivers are alerted to any home emergency. A fire in the home can take hold within 3 or 4 minutes, so early detection is essential, and a smart smoke alarm in the home will send a signal to the car if it is triggered. Although fire is a greater threat, water damage to a property is more common, and a smart system that sends a prompt alert for a water leak can avoid compounding the situation.
Checking In At Home
As well as receiving alerts for emergencies, it’s also comforting to know that, at any time, all is well at home. A recent survey found that 81% of people were afraid to leave their home unattended when they went away on holiday. Being able to control automated lighting at home from the car can help alleviate stress. Smart cameras fitted inside and to the exterior of the home allow for monitoring of the whole house and garden, and with the addition of motion detectors and spotlights, can identify and deter intruders. In addition, a smart camera can monitor a pet’s activities to ensure that they are safe and comfortable when left alone at home for any length of time.
In the event of break-in at home, the Nest Protect system, part of the Nest application integrated into the Ford sync system, will immediately notify drivers. In addition, an advanced version of Nest’s Automatic Connected Car Adaptor can contact next of kin or emergency services on a driver’s behalf, if necessary. According to the UK police, most burglars gain entry by forcing the front door, and doors with glass panels are particularly vulnerable to break ins. Drivers with Alexa in the car can be alerted to such a home intrusion by Amazon’s new service for Echo, Alexa Guard. When Guard is enabled, devices wake when they hear breaking glass and send a warning directly to the car.
Many people are anxious about leaving their property and pets for any length of time time. With integrated systems connecting cars to the home, security and safety can be closely monitored, giving drivers peace of mind while out on the road.
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