Google Adds World's Fastest Drifting EV To Its Autonomous Taxi Fleet

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From the company that owns Lotus...

Waymo started as Google's self-driving car project, but it soon grew big enough to become a separate division under Alphabet Inc. (Google's parent company).

When Google's self-driving car project started in 2009, it used the Toyota Prius. Once it broke free from Google, it upgraded to a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids as part of a partnership with Stellantis. In 2018, it announced a partnership with Jaguar Land Rover. Jaguar was supposed to supply 20,000 I-Pace SUVs, giving Waymo users a more premium option. As a reward, Jag would gain autonomous knowledge from Waymo.

But as discovered on the China Certification Corporation's (CCC) website, the latest addition to its fleet will come from the East, and it will wear a Geely badge.


Waymo chose Geely's Zeekr 001 EV as the basis of its next-generation autonomous taxi. Far from your typical humdrum appliance of an EV, the Zeekr recently earned two Guinness World Records, including one for the fastest drift in an electric vehicle and another for the fastest slalom run in an EV.

Geely is one of the best-known Chinese manufacturers because of its relationship with Volvo. Geely purchased Volvo from Ford in late 2009 for just $1.8 billion. It then wrote the Swedish automaker a blank cheque and told them to go out and build the best Volvo possible. The result was the second-generation XC90 on the new SPA platform, which arguably saved the brand from the brink of extinction.

Geely and Volvo founded Lynk & Co, a banner underneath which it can sell cars while keeping the two brands separate. The Geely Zeekr is a rebadged Lynk & Co product, scheduled to go on sale in Europe in 2023.


According to the CCC, the Zeekr will not replace the existing fleet but rather add to it.

Looking at the specification sheet, we can see why Waymo went for the Geely. It costs the equivalent of $60,000 and is roughly the size of a BMW 5 Series. Unlike the 5, it has a completely flat floor. Waymo will use this to its advantage, as seen from the concept interior design.

The Zeekr will also get you where you're going fast. It has a dual-motor setup with a combined power output of 536 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Geely says it can get to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, but it's the range that really matters. The Zeekr has a claimed range of 435 miles with a fully charged battery - albeit on more lenient test cycles than the EPA's. Only the Lucid Air Grand Touring can go further, and it costs $154,000.


The Zeekr is also already equipped with several of the technologies Waymo requires to make its autonomous systems work. Each car will still undergo substantial technical and software upgrades. These vehicles will make their way to the USA eventually.

The Waymo edition will capitalize on the Zeekr's low step-in height. Waymo will also fit sliding doors to remove the B-pillar to improve ease of access further. As you can see on the concept image, it still has a steering wheel. The steering wheel will eventually be removed, and only a screen will remain so passengers can track their journey.

Since Waymo applied for CCC accreditation first, the Waymo Zeekr will likely be rolled out in China before it ships elsewhere.


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