Green Car Journal has witnessed the slow but progressive evolution of the primarily gasoline fueled, internal combustion car over many decades. This evolution has included much improved gasoline engines and vehicles, the use of alternative fuels, and cars producing low- or even zero-emissions. It’s been an uphill drive, too often stalled by special interest legislation, economic downturns, wildly gyrating gas prices, and manufacturer subsidized financing for larger and less efficient vehicles. Still, the evolution is well underway.
A second and complementary evolution is also taking place: An electrified, self-driving future for the U.S. and emerging world auto markets that holds increasing potential. Just this week, Waymo (formerly Google’s self-driving car project), signed a deal with FCA to expand its present fleet of 100 fully-autonomous 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to 600. Production of the additional 500 self-driving-prepped minivans will ramp up beginning next month, then these vehicles will be outfitted by Waymo with its self-driving technology.
Concurrently, Waymo has launched its early rider program in Phoenix, Arizona that will give select Phoenix residents an opportunity to experience self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for the first time. Information about Waymo’s early rider program can be found at waymo.com/apply.