Google’s self-driving division Waymo is finally parting ways with its fleet of hybrid-electric Chrysler minivans used to test its autonomous tech. The company will now employ electric Jaguars instead.
Waymo will retire its iconic white Chrysler Pacifica-based robotaxi vans thanks to a deal with British automaker Jaguar. The deal will see Jaguar supply up to 20,000 I-Pace EVs to Waymo; each outfitted with the latest generation of self-driving hardware and software.
While the Pacifica fleet included plug-in hybrid models, Waymo is going all-in with fully electric cars to limit emissions in compliance with the recent White House EV Acceleration Challenge, which urges organizations to swap their ICE fleets for electric.
In a release made available online, Waymo describes why it chose the Jaguar I-Pace, “Electric vehicles like the I-Pace generate less carbon emissions than their gas counterparts, but with the average vehicle in the U.S. parked 95 percent of the time, their full benefits are often unrealized.”
Waymo wants to replace EVs that sit idle most of the time with a robotaxi fleet that maximizes the benefits of EVs by spending more time on the road, “We believe that autonomous EVs efficiently driven around the clock can maximize those environmental benefits with a significantly higher vehicle utilization. Taking it a step further, our EV fleet is matched with 100% renewable energy, which enables us to provide a zero-emission ride-hailing service to our customers.”
The I-Pace will be powered by Waymo’s fifth-generation suite of autonomous tech when they start running on the roads in Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa in Arizona. Waymo, however, has to contend with San Francisco’s effort to slow down its progress following a string of incidents.