Waymo to retire Chrysler hybrids in transition to all-electric robotaxis, including ZEEKR EV

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Robotaxi developer Waymo will soon be operating an all-electric fleet of fifth-generation Waymo Driver as it is retiring its fourth-generation tech utilized on Chrysler Pacifica hybrids. Looking ahead, Waymo will deploy the Jaguar I-Pace EVs as it continues to develop future autonomous vehicles with Geely and its all-electric ZEEKR brand.

Waymo was launched in 2009 by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Inc. as a self-driving car project. In 2016, the Google project was officially rebranded as Waymo, derived from “a new way forward in mobility.” Since then, Waymo has tested its various self-driving vehicles in multiple states.

It has been charging driverless rides for people in Chandler, Arizona, since 2019, followed by paid rides in San Francisco. In early 2023, Waymo announced it had eclipsed 1 million miles alongside news that it will soon begin testing driverless rides in Los Angeles.

Back in late 2021, the robotaxi company announced a collaboration with Chinese OEM Geely to integrate its Waymo Driver technology into upcoming EVs from the former’s all-electric ZEEKR brand. Here’s how Waymo described its upcoming electric rideshare vehicle being developed:

Over years to come, we’ll integrate our Waymo Driver into the transportation-as-a-service (TaaS)-optimized ZEEKR vehicle designed to prioritize the comfort, convenience, and preferences of Waymo One riders. This rider-first vehicle features a flat floor for more accessible entry, easy ingress and egress thanks to a B-pillarless design, low step-in height, generous head and legroom, and fully adjustable seats. While ensuring a level of safety consistent with U.S. federal vehicle standards – our Waymo One riders will one day experience an interior without steering wheel and pedals, and with plenty of headroom, leg room and reclining seats, screens and chargers within arm’s reach, and an easy to configure and comfortable vehicle cabin.

As it works to someday deliver the purpose-built electric vehicle seen above, Waymo is already expanding its fleet of robotaxis using Jaguar I-Pace EVs and will now completely move on from anything less than all-electric.

Waymo electric
The Jaguar I-Pace EVs currently being deployed / Credit: Waymo

Waymo One goes all-electric ahead of ZEEKR platform

According to news shared on Waymo’s blog today, the robotaxi service is in the process of retiring its fourth-generation vehicles, which includes the Chrysler Pacific hybrid. Beginning in late April, the company will deploy its fleet of fifth-generation Waymo Driver technology implemented on the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace.

As the last generation of hybrids are retired in Arizona, Waymo’s fleet will officially become entirely electric. Per the blog post:

Focusing our service on an all I-Pace fleet helps us better optimize our technical and operational support to be more efficient in the near term as we prepare future vehicles like the ZEEKR mobility platform. Our machine learning-based fifth-generation Waymo Driver learns more with every mile traveled, so deploying our existing I-Pace fleet into the East Valley will only further advance the performance and reliability of the Driver as we continue to scale

Eliminating any use of fossil fuels is a big step for Waymo as it looks to eventually roll out the aforementioned ZEEKR electric mobility platform. However, where and when remains unclear at this point. We have asked Waymo for an update and will report back.

In addition to today’s news, Waymo also shared that it has joined the White House’s EV Acceleration Challenge. With its transition into a fully electric fleet, it is well on its way to answering the call.

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