Audi, Porsche could license their PPE electric-car platform

The VW Group is "having conversations"

Porsche and Audi are co-developing an architecture called Premium Platform Electric (PPE) that will underpin a wide range of models during the 2020s. That range could include models from other automakers, as automakers outside of the Volkswagen Group have already manifested an interest in building vehicles on the architecture, according to a recent report.

"There's definitely interest. We're having conversations. Sharing technology to generate scale effects is the only way to achieve the turnaround in electric cars, both economically and ecologically," explained Ulrich Widmann, the head of PPE engineering at Audi, in an interview with Bloomberg.

He stopped short of revealing which automakers his colleagues are talking to, or what stage the negotiations have reached. The industry's appetite for turn-key electric-car platforms is steadily growing, however. Companies big and small are looking for a fast-tracked entry into the EV segment to stay competitive. The PPE platform is flexible enough to provide the foundations for a sedan, an SUV, or anything in between. 

The Volkswagen Group has already announced plans to share the modular, electric car-only MEB platform developed by it namesake division with partner Ford. Volkswagen's agreement with Ford will spawn a mass-market electric car built on the same bones as the recently unveiled ID.3 and Audi's upcoming Q4 E-Tron. Bloomberg added that the collaboration could be expanded to include a second model, though whether it would be sold in the United States is up in the air. Ford also plans to build an electric off-roader on the skateboard-like platform developed by start-up Rivian, though it won't reveal more details for the time being.

PPE is being developed to underpin cars that are big, luxurious, and correspondingly expensive. It's out of Ford's league, but right within Lincoln's scope. While it's too early to speculate about a PPE-based Lincoln EV, Volkswagen's two licensing agreements prove established automakers are just as eager to get their hands on a ready-made platform as start-ups.

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