Green, Autonomous, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is Going Places
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is doing more than becoming one of the number one green vehicles in America these days. With its commitment to the Waymo project, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has made up a large share of the fleet, if not the entire fleet, of these self-driving vehicles by donating thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid units to be modified and augmented for autonomous driving. Now that we’re a ways into the summer, organizations are starting to wrap-up their award shows and “Best of” lists. Shortly after being named the “Best Family Car of the Year” at the 2018 North American International Auto Show and the Canadian Green Car Award, the family plug-in hybrid minivan has also won another green award from the Northwest Automotive Press Association for the second-year in-a-row.
Northwest Green Vehicle of the Year Award
For 2018, U.S. News & World Report held what they called a “Driver Revolution” green vehicle competition, hosted by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA). Among the other 18 plug-in hybrids, battery-electric vehicles, and fully hybrids that were competing for this award, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was selected by NWAPA journalists. These journalist cast their votes after taking the competing vehicles through the twists and turns of the Vancouver, Washington area.
“The Pacifica Hybrid’s 84 MPGe and 33 miles of all-electric range saves you hundreds in fuel costs each year over the average new minivan or SUV…But what’s particularly remarkable is that you can achieve this fuel economy while also carrying a family of seven in the front and a suitcase for everyone in the back. This, along with a notable amount of standard equipment, makes the Pacifica Hybrid a truly family-friendly vehicle.” – Sarah Shelton, Drive Revolution Chair of U.S. News & World Report.
2018 marks the repeat win of the “Northwest Family-Sized Plug-in Hybrid of the Year” award and the first time nod as the “Northwest Green Vehicle of the Year” award for the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid. As we mentioned, that’s not all the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has been getting into. Being a plug-in hybrid also made this minivan the perfect unit for the (once Google) Waymo self-driving autonomous car project.
Waymo Robo-Taxi Service Expanding to Europe?
With the ongoing success of the Waymo, most recently having received certification from Phoenix, Arizona to act as an autonomous ride-hailing transportation network, the Pacifica Hybrid really is going places. Like Uber, consumers in Phoenix will soon be able to use a smartphone app to hail a vehicle for transportation, except for Waymo, the vehicle won’t have a sketchy driver behind the wheel. Given this success, John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, wants to expand the self-driving vehicle project into Europe.
While in Germany, Krafcik spoke to a newspaper, the German daily Handselblatt, about this expansion. A robo-taxi service in Europe doesn’t sound too far-fetched with some of the more progressive thinking in the East, and with FCA supplying up to 62,000 more cars to Waymo, there’s room to move. Yet, Krafcik doesn’t plan to just use Chrysler or Waymo for expanding the already successful robo-taxi service.
“Everything we have announced so far is just for the United States…In Phoenix, we are launching under the Waymo brand. In Europe we would choose a different approach because our brand is not well known in Europe. We would cooperate with a European car brand,” Krafcik told German daily Handelsblatt during an interview.
There is talk of working with the Jaguar Land Rover when it comes to European car makers, but we won’t know for sure. According to the interview, Krafcik told Handelsblatt he wanted to keep the carmakers he was in talks with about vehicles for Europe confidential for now. We may not see any European versions of the vehicle here in the states, but we already have the Waymo. No big deal.
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