Alphabet will operate a fleet of 20,000 Jaguar cars for its driver less ride-hail service by 2022 -
This will be the first part of a long-term partnership between the two companies.
Alphabet’s self-driving arm Waymo is introducing a new vehicle into its fleet of driverless rides, an all-electric car produced by Jaguar Land Rover.
Waymo unveiled the new vehicle, called the Jaguar I-Pace, at a press event in New York City on Tuesday and said it expected to begin production on the cars equipped with its technology in 2020. In the first two years, the companies expect to manufacture 20,000 cars.
The vehicles will first be available in a ride-hail service in Phoenix, Ariz., where the company will begin testing prototypes this year. Waymo currently has a fleet of driverless Chrysler Pacifica vansas part of its ongoing agreement with Fiat Chrysler.
This is the first part of what Waymo CEO John Krafcik called a “longterm partnership” with Jaguar. For now, Waymo will own and operate those vehicles that are designed and produced to be able to incorporate the company’s technology. Eventually, Waymo could license the technology to Jaguar Land Rover as well.
That means this partnership can ultimately fulfill at least two of four of the business models Waymo has laid out for itself. First, there’s the ride-hail service; second is licensing its technology to automakers. The company is also exploring trucking and logistics — it recently unveiled its new truck — and working with cities to provide first- and last-mile solutions that connect consumers to public transit.
This particular vehicle is well suited for city driving, Krafcik said at the event today, because it’s compact and has a battery with a 240-mile range. That’s a bit of a departure from its fleet of Chrysler vans currently being tested by consumers in an early-rider program in Arizona.
It’s a sign of Waymo’s ambition to be everywhere — both the suburbs and dense urban areas. That’s why the company is currently testing its technology in a few high-density urban areas including Austin and San Francisco.