Waymo has announced a new partnership with Chinese automaker Geely to expand their fleet with a purpose-built electric robotaxi.
The electric van was designed in Sweden specifically for autonomous ride hailing.
Geely’s new Zeekr brand will build the vehicle, which will add to Waymo’s existing fleet of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans and Jaguar i-Pace SUVs.
The company didn’t provide a specific date for when they will be added, but based on the wording used in their announcement it won’t be any time soon.
“We’ll begin to introduce these all electric, rider-first, fully autonomous vehicles on U.S. roads within our Waymo One fleet in the years to come.”
Since they are purpose built, Waymo says the Zeekr vans were designed for “riders first” and will feature” flat floors and wider-than-usual door openings for easy entry and exit by passengers.”
Renderings of the van also show it has no pedals or steering wheel.
Waymo announced the Waymo One Trusted Tester program in San Francisco earlier this summer. The program initially launched with a select group of ‘Trusted Testers’, but with the introduction of the new program expanded that to “all interested San Franciscans.”
There have apparently been many interested San Franciscans. Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana has said the waiting list in the Bay Area is into the tens of thousands.