Volkswagen’s plan to create a common platform
So there was an interesting article in the Financial Times today that talked about Volkswagen’s plan to create a common platform, called the MEB platform, that is to be used as the main building block for up to 50 of its models by 2025.
The interesting thing here is that the MEB platform is designed SPECIFICALLY for electric vehicles, which is a major departure from the past where electric vehicle platforms were modified versions of those for mainstream cars that just put in more space for the batteries.
The company is SO confident that it’s onto a good thing that it is touting this platform to other manufacturers as well.
Again, this is a major departure from what’s been going on up until now as car manufacturers have kept all of the powertrain stuff in-house, but many people believe that batteries will become commoditised – much in the same way as those for mobile phones – and so any money they will be able to save on vehicle architecture can be put into other ways to distinguish their respective offerings and customer experience.
Although this sounds great, there is a danger that if there are glitches in a common platform, the cost of vehicle recalls to rectify them will be potentially astronomical.
Still, I think that the ongoing development of decent charging networks and more efficient batteries will be even more important in pushing electric vehicles into the mainstream.
The other thing I wanted to talk about today was Facebook as it managed to publish some strong revenues and profits despite suffering from what seemed to be never-ending negative news flow in the final quarter of last year.
Revenues were up by 30% year-on-year and the number of daily active users increased by 9% in the same period, so it seems to me that they’re doing a decent enough job of growing in seemingly adverse conditions.
I think that, for all the bad press, many of these FAANGS are so embedded in our daily lives and have increasingly high barriers to entry so, ultimately, although valuations were getting pretty toppy last year, they are going to be sticking around so any weakness can throw up opportunities.