Waymo to use 20000 Jaguar EVs in robotaxi fleet

Waymo to use 20000 Jaguar EVs in robotaxi fleet

Waymo and Jaguar are partnering to produce 20,000 I-Pace SUVs for next few years.

At the press event where the Waymo-powered Jaguar I-Pace was revealed, Waymo CEO John Krafcik revealed that the electric SUV has a battery capable of driving all day.

Waymo announced the partnership at the NY motor show. Jaguar lists the starting price for its I-Pace model at about $70,000, a figure that translates into $1.4 billion for 20,000 vehicles. This would also be the most powerful vehicle in Waymo's fleet by far with a combined 400hp and 512 lb-ft of torque from its dual electric motors. Company executives said the talks and development had been underway for about a year.

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Waymo's first test fleet of self-driving vehicles were Lexus RX crossovers. The company has plans to roll out a ride service to the public in the Phoenix, Arizona area in coming months, with plans to later launch it more widely. The announcement of a substantial vehicle fleet for the Phoenix roll-out demonstrates that Waymo has taken a significant step forward in the race to pioneer the world of self-driving cars. An Uber in autonomous driving mode with a human backup driver in the vehicle hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona last week, prompting Uber to halt its self-driving auto testing. "It's a real partnership", Krafcik said. Arizona governor Doug Ducey ordered an indefinite suspension of Uber's public road testing of driverless cars in the state.

A Jaguar I-PACE self-driving vehicle.

Waymo has committed to launching the first fully-driverless taxi fleet - without a human safety driver - in Arizona by the end of 2018. Waymo has already been testing its ride-hailing service in the Phoenix metro area since late a year ago, through a program designed for residents (you need to apply online to become an "early rider").

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Uber announced a year ago that it planned to buy up to 24,000 vehicles from Volvo, owned by China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, in a non-exclusive deal from 2019 to 2021.

Waymo will fit its latest sensors and software to the electric Jaguars and put them into service as its first luxury offering in an autonomous-car hailing service.

Bill Fay, senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota North America, said Tuesday in an interview at an event in NY he did not know long the pause would last.

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