Google Partners With Chrysler To Build 100 Self-Driving Pacifica Hybrid Minivans (Updated)

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Google’s self-driving car fleet has been decidedly Toyota-heavy since the project's inception, with the vast majority of the fleet consisting of Toyota Prius and Lexus RX 450h hybrids. If a new report is to be believed, it looks as though Google may be throwing Fiat Chrysler a bone (and a vote of confidence) by adding several dozen of the company’s newly launched Pacifica minivans to its self-driving vehicle fleet.

Citing sources that “asked not to be identified,” Bloomberg says that Google and Chrysler have nearly finalized the partnership and an announcement could be made a soon as today. Naturally, representatives for both companies have declined to comment on the report.

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Google’s self-driving fleet began with second generation Prii (yes, that is the official plural term for Prius), and continues today with the previous generation RX 450h and Google’s own Cozy Coupe-esque autonomous vehicle. But the Pacifica, which can seat up to 8 people, will be the largest vehicle yet that Google has tested on public roads.

The 2017 Pacifica has won praise in automotive circles and from consumers for its avant-garde styling both inside and out. The standard powertrain on the new Pacifica is Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 which generates 287hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. However, the attention-grabbing feature of the Pacific is its optional plug-in hybrid variant (a first in the American minivan sector) that uses a revised version of the aforementioned Pentastar V6, a 16 kWh battery pack and dual electric motors to produce a total of 260hp. Chrysler says that the plug-in Pacifica can deliver 80 MPGe in the city and can travel up to 30 miles on battery power alone.

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Given Google’s preference for hybrid vehicles from Toyota, we reckon that the company will choose the plug-in hybrid Pacifica to add to its self-driving fleet. Stay tuned or more details as they become available.

**Updated May 3rd at 4:15pm**

Google and Fiat Chrysler this afternoon confirmed the business deal. Chrysler will provide Google with 100 modified plug-in hybrid Pacificas, after which Google will install its own self-driving software and hardware. The addition of the Pacifica Hybrids will more than double Google's current self-driving fleet.