Self-driving Company Waymo to Buy Thousands of High-end, Sporty Jaguar EVs for Taxi Service

self driving company waymo to buy thousands of high end sporty jaguar evs for taxi

Let’s hope future robo-taxi passengers appreciate a sport-tuned suspension and crisp driving dynamics, because there’s a slim chance they’ll notice it when shuttling around in a driverless Jaguar.

On Tuesday, Waymo, autonomous car unit of Google, announced its intent to purchase up to 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace electric crossovers for its future fleet of AV EVs. Fitted with an array of self-driving hardware and software, Waymo says the cars will hit the road in 2020. Testing begins this year, which has us wondering what kind of wait a regular I-Pace customer faces.

News of this bulk buy comes two months after Waymo’s decision to purchase “thousands” of hybrid Chrysler Pacifica minivans for its autonomous ride-hailing fleet. Fiat Chrysler and Waymo entered into an agreement long ago (in AV terms), with testing now ongoing on public roads in numerous cities. Phoenix, Arizona is the site of the company’s Early Rider test program, in which the public can summon and ride in a driverless Pacifica.

Later this year, Phoenix will serve as the launch site for the company’s commercial ride-hailing service, featuring completely driver-free cab rides for paying customers. Phoenix, of course, is a market that’s very unlikely to see snow or rain obscure road boundaries, painted markers, street signs, and the like.

So far, Waymo hasn’t seen a tragedy like that experienced by Uber last week, and, ulike Uber, the company has voluntarily submitted information to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to document its progress.

The deal between Waymo and Jaguar, which carries an undisclosed price (it’s estimated at $1 billion or more — the I-Pace’s profit margin is unknown and Jag won’t want to take a hit), will see the two companies collaborate on the vehicle’s production at the factory level. Self-driving I-Pace models will roll out of the assembly plant with everything needed to enter driverless taxi duty, rather than seeing them shipped to Waymo for outfitting. The two companies claim up to 20,000 of the specialized I-Paces will be built in the first two years of production.

The Jaguar I-Pace, which starts at $69,500 (USD), boasts approximately 240 miles of range from its 90 kWh battery pack. Two electric motors positioned front and rear combine for an output of 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque — more than enough motivation for sedate, follow-the-rules taxi service. It seem like overkill, given the car’s intended use, but Waymo has global domination in mind here. Jaguar not only has the brand recognition, but also the cash, suppliers, and facility to churn out I-Paces at a reliable clip.

Orders for retail customers began earlier this month, and the first I-Paces should enter driveways by the middle of this year.

[Images: Waymo, Jaguar Land Rover]

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  • Tstag Tstag on Mar 27, 2018

    You’ve got to give Jaguar some credit here. They look like a modern and innovative car maker yet have a tremendous sporting pedigree. BMW and co look soooo last year!

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Mar 27, 2018

    So Jaguar I-pace is a new Town Car now? The reason Google chose Jaguar is that is is reliable, very durable and cheap to repair.

    • Tstag Tstag on Mar 28, 2018

      Correct. Jaguar simply showed Google how reliable their cars aren’t versus Teslas and Google quickly realised that the best electrical car in the world is a Jaguar

  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.
  • Daniel J I believe anyone, at any level, should get paid as much as the market will bear. Why should CEOs have capped salaries or compensation but middle management shouldn't? If companies support poor CEOs and poor CEOs keep getting rewarded, it's up to the consumer and investors to force that company to either get a better CEO or to reduce the salary of that CEO. What I find hilarious is that consumers will continue to support companies where the pay for the CEOs is very high. And the same people complain. I stopped buying from Amazon during the pandemic. Everyone happily buys from them but the CEO makes bank. Same way with Walmart and many other retailers. Tim Cook got 100m in compensation last year yet people line up to buy Iphones. People who complain and still buy the products must not really care that much.