It’s over three decades since Chrysler created the minivan and reshaped the automotive landscape – it was on November 2nd, 1983, that the world’s first minivan rolled off Chrysler’s assembly line.
Continuing the Chrysler brand’s long tradition of minivan innovation, FCA is to supply thousands of Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Waymo, the autonomous car division of Google, for the launch of its driverless taxi service, the third in a series of agreements between FCA and Google.
When Chrysler unveiled the plug-in hybrid version of its newest Pacifica minivan – which has room for up to 8 passengers, making it the ideal candidate for a ride-hailing and/or ridesharing service – Waymo and FCA confirmed a deal under which Waymo would provide the technology and FCA would build it into the Pacifica. The initial arrangement was for 100 specially modified cars, but by the end of 2017, that number had grown to 600 vehicles, and now thousands more Pacifica’s are scheduled to join the fleet.
“In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen – this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”
Waymo is preparing to inaugurate its first autonomous taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona this year. The additional hybrid Pacifica’s will be used to support its expansion, Waymo having already officially tested the technology in 25 major American cities, including Atlanta, San Francisco, Metro Detroit and Kirkland.
“With the first fleet of completely autonomous cars on the road, we are moving from the research and development to the operational phase,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo. “The hybrid Pacifica minivans offer versatile interiors and a comfortable ride – the additional vehicles will allow us to grow our service.”
FCA also offers the Chrysler Pacifica in the Middle East, with the latest version of the award-winning 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine which is renowned for its refinement, power, efficiency and adaptability, delivering 287hp, 262 lb.-ft. (355.22 Nm) of torque and fuel economy of 11.9 kilometres per litre (km/L) on the highway.
The Pacifica has an unprecedented level of functionality, versatility, technology and bold styling. With more than 100 standard and available safety and security features, an all-new Uconnect™ Theatre rear seat entertainment system, plus a full array of comfort and convenience technologies, the Chrysler Pacifica is a no-compromise minivan that’s ideally suited for today’s larger Middle East families.
The spacious interior delivers best-in-class front-row and third-row legroom, and an available tri-pane panoramic sunroof adds to the feeling of spaciousness. The thoughtfully crafted interior is as functional as it is beautiful. An unsurpassed amount of storage includes a large centre console, featuring spaces specifically designed to fit devices like an iPad. The bottom of the console bin is deeper than the vehicle floor for added storage space. The Stow ‘n Go floor bins offer storage when the second-row seats are not stowed, and the enhanced Stow ‘n Go system features redesigned seats for added comfort and side support. The Pacifica’s seating delivers even more functionality with the addition of the available eight-passenger seating. The lightweight, removable eighth-passenger seat fits in between the existing second-row seats and functions as a large second-row armrest with cupholders when not in use.
Since its launch, the Pacifica has received many prestigious awards, including being named the highest-ranking minivan in the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study℠ (IQS), winning the Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Minivan from MotorWeek, becoming the only minivan to earn a 2017 Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and being named in Wards 10 Best Interiors List.
The Pacifica has also received Cars.com’s ‘Family Car of the Year’ Award, has been named on Car and Driver’s 10 Best Trucks and SUVs list for a second consecutive year, is a Consumer Guide® Automotive Best Buy and was voted Top Minivan of 2017 by the New York Daily News Autos Team.