Waymo is making the move to an all-electric ride-hailing fleet, as the company plans on retiring the previous-generation Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid from its service. Replacing the hybrid minivan in late April is the Jaguar I-Pace, which will make the entire Waymo One fleet fully electric. The Jaguar I-Pace’s introduction will also bring the fifth-generation Waymo Driver to the Phoenix East Valley. The change also means Waymo will be joining the White House EV Acceleration Challenge. As they company says, “For many, hailing a fully autonomous ride from Waymo may be the easiest way to access an EV.”
The company also brought up another good point, saying that the average vehicle in the U.S. is parked 95% of the time. That means the full benefits of an EV are often unrealized but that’s not the case with an autonomous driving fleet like Waymo’s. Instead, its EVs are driven around the clock, fully maximizing the environmental benefits of switching to an EV. The company’s fleet is also matched with 100% renewable energy, which means it’s a zero-emission, ride-hailing service.
The fifth-generation Waymo Driver that is being deployed with the I-Pace fleet is a machine learning-based system that will learn more with each mile traveled. Expect to see the I-Paces deployed in Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa (Arizona) in late April. Waymo is still preparing its future vehicles, including the ZEEKR mobility platform. In addition, the company continues to work closely with city leaders and community groups to plan for cities of the future. If Waymo One is a competently working service, along with other forms of shared mobility, cities can repurpose parking and improve pedestrian safety while reducing localized emissions. One of the goals with these self-driving, ride-hailing fleets is to help cities and streets be designed more for people, and less for cars.