WORDS AND PHOTOS via Practical Motoring
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Ford is developing two new flexible vehicle architectures that will be crucial in the company’s future development of utes, SUVs, and four-wheel drives. One of the platforms is a scalable battery-electric vehicle platform for the next-generation of large pick-up trucks and utility vehicles, the other will sit underneath both compact and full-size vehicles such as utes, three-row SUVs and vans.
The first platform that will sit underneath larger pick-ups is likely to stay a left-hand drive, US-market product. However, the second platform might be underneath products destined for Australia.
“Where do Volkswagen MEB and platform and Rivian skateboard platform fit in? In Europe it is more efficient to partner with Volkswagen for the architecture of our small and mid-size BEVs. After all, One Ford taught us that while global scale delivers engineering efficiencies, it is ultimately local scale that delivers significant material cost savings. This is the smarter play here,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s product platform and operations officer.
It will be interesting to see what products may develop from the new platforms, given Ford is already working with Volkswagen and Rivian on electric vehicles, the latter a purely ute and four-wheel-drive company. Volkswagen on the other hand has a range of vehicles including the Amarok ute sold in Australia and a range of vans.
“Just as our customers aren’t all the same, our BEV architectures won’t be either. Our new rear-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive flexible architecture will deliver a whole new generation of high-volume vehicles with even better returns, because it supports high production scale,”
“Our architecture approach still allows us to share parts across vehicles. Rest assured, while some of the technologies are shared, the vehicles themselves and the experiences they create for Ford customers will be very different,
“Our new flexible architecture will underpin a range of emotive vehicles slated for production between now and 2030.”