Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) autonomous vehicle venture Waymo plans to buy up to 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace electric sport utility vehicles (SUVS) and convert them into self-driving cars.
Tata Motors (NYSE: TTM) will build the British-designed I-Paces at its plant in Granz, Austria, The Guardian reported. The I-Pace deal is supposed to the start of a long-term strategic partnership between Tata’s Jaguar Land Rover division and Waymo.
Waymo will test the I-Paces in Arizona later this year. The I-Paces will presumably be tested alongside the Chrysler Pacificas that Waymo is testing in Arizona. Those vans will be maintained by Avis-Budget Group (NASDAQ: CAR) and be used in a ridesharing service Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) intends to launch. Avis-Budget and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE: FCAU) will participate in that venture.
Waymo Goes Electric
The Guardian did not say whether Tata will participate in the ridesharing venture or if Avis-Budget would maintain the self-driving I-Paces. Nor did The Guardian say whether other Tata vehicles; such as Land Rovers, will be used in future Waymo autonomous vehicle tests.
Waymo will pay Tata £1.3 billion ($1.83 billion) for the I-Paces. The article did not say if the I-Paces will be used elsewhere but Alphabet and its partners might be planning to start ridesharing services with electric I-Paces around the United States or the world.
The I-Pace is Jaguar’s electric SUV, which is scheduled to be sold the pubic later this year. If you are interested you can order an I-Pace through Jaguar’s website right now. The base price for the luxurious four door vehicle is $69,500. A logical use for electric powered I-Paces would be to offer a self-driving limousine service.
Jaguar Land Rover has its own self-driving vehicle development program in England’s Midlands. News stories did not say whether Waymo and Tata would collaborate on self-driving vehicle development in the United Kingdom or India. News stories did not say if Waymo technology will be tested in the Tata-branded cars and Land Rover SUVs sold in India and elsewhere.