Business

Waymo orders thousands of self-driving minivans

Vehicles to be used for raide-hailing service

Chicago Tribune/TNS

A 2017 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan has a 33-mile electric range and total range of 566 miles when powered by the 3.6-liter V-6 engine.
Chicago Tribune/TNS A 2017 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan has a 33-mile electric range and total range of 566 miles when powered by the 3.6-liter V-6 engine.

DETROIT — Waymo is buying thousands of additional Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for its planned autonomous ride-hailing service.

The company, formerly known as the Google self-driving car project, plans to launch the service in Phoenix this year.

Waymo already had ordered 600 Pacifica minivans, and the additional vehicles are to be used as the company expands to other cities, according to a news release from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The new minivan deliveries will happen later this year.

A Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman said the specific number of additional minivans will depend on Waymo’s needs. Waymo indicated that the number will be used to support the launch of its ride-hailing service, but also declined to be specific.

Details of the sale were not disclosed.

Waymo plans to launch the service without a human driver behind the wheel.

News that Waymo wants additional minivans follows other recent announcements on the self-driving vehicle front from the Detroit Three, with General Motors seeking approval for Chevrolet Bolts without steering wheels and Ford’s plan to buy two start-ups to further its autonomous vehicle efforts.

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