Electric Cars

Waymo gets its first three Jaguar I-Pace electric SUVs

The cars will be cruising around the San Francisco Bay Area.

It's subtle, but it'll be way less subtle once Waymo slaps its hardware all over it.

Waymo

In late March, Waymo announced that it would receive a number of Jaguar I-Pace electric SUVs in anticipation of a future self-driving ride-hailing service. Now, those I-Paces are starting to roll in.

Waymo announced today that it has received its first three I-Paces from Jaguar Land Rover. In fact, these three are the first I-Paces in the US outside of Jaguar's own fleet. The full Waymo livery we saw in the initial partnership announcement isn't on display quite yet -- instead, the one car we've seen sports a sedate gray paint job with Waymo lettering by the rear wheel. Roadshow's Slack channel is split on whether or not the wheels are cool (I think they are).

For the time being, these cars are for development purposes only. The three I-Paces will drive around the San Francisco Bay Area, scooping up data about its roads. The goal is to eventually introduce the I-Paces into Waymo's upcoming autonomous ride-hailing operation, which should happen in 2020. Until then, the company will still rely on its fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans, which will form the initial backbone of its ride-hailing service.

When the partnership first came about, Waymo said it pledged to buy up to 20,000 I-Paces by 2022, which is quite the number. Jaguar won't be supplying Waymo with all that extraneous hardware -- it will merely serve as the platform on which Waymo will affix the additional hardware and software necessary to enable true automation.

Waymo doesn't plan to stop at ride hailing, either. The company wants to get its self-driving platform into three other arenas, as well -- delivery and logistics, public transit connections and personal ownership.