RPT-Google to buy minivans for self-driving tests from Fiat Chrysler

Tue May 3, 2016 4:13pm EDT
 
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(Repeats to widen distribution)

May 3 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google unit has agreed to buy 100 plug-in hybrid minivans from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to expand its self-driving vehicle testing program, the two companies said on Tuesday -- in the most advanced partnership to date between Silicon Valley and a carmaker.

The vehicles will not be offered for sale to the public. Unlike prior testing in which Google bought Toyota Motor Corp vehicles from dealers and retrofitted them, the search engine giant will work with FCA directly on the test models.

Under the agreement, FCA will equip 100 of the Chrysler Pacifica minivans it launched in February with Google's self-driving technology. The deal does not preclude either FCA or Google from cooperating with others, the companies said in a statement. (Reporting by David Shepardson in Washignton and Bernie Woodall in Detroit; Editing by Tom Brown)