• Alphabet’s self-driving technology division is sourcing its next-generation robotaxis from Geely Group Zeekr
  • The robotaxi introduced by M-Vision a few years ago has sliding doors at the front and back
  • Waymo says it is closely monitoring the tariff situation

As the Biden administration pushes through new tariffs on Chinese-made BEVs to protect the local auto industry, Waymo could also be affected.

Alphabet’s autonomous driving technology company will procure robot taxis that it developed with Geely-owned Zeekr. The vehicle, which is still in the development phase, is currently known as the M-Vision and was developed exclusively for the purpose of ride-sharing. It is based on Geely’s SEA-M platform, a revised version of the Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) used by various Volvo, Polestar, Lotus and Smart vehicles.

Read: Geely’s Zeekr shows us more of its Waymo Robotaxi

President Biden will impose a 102.5% tariff on electric vehicles imported from China and since Zeekr only builds vehicles in China, the Waymo robotaxi could be affected by these tariffs.

During a recent conversation with Auto News, a Waymo spokesperson said the first step is to “closely monitor the customs situation in China.”

    The new US tariffs could affect Waymo's robotaxis built in China

Waymo has started receiving a small number of Zeekr robotaxis in the US and is testing them in San Francisco. It’s unclear how many Zeekr robotaxis Waymo is buying, but regardless of the number, the U.S. government’s latest move will impact Waymo’s bottom line. Will the tariffs force the company to rethink its Zeekr deal, or will they perhaps encourage Zeekr to build the robotaxi in a “US-friendly” country like Mexico and then import it into the US?

Technical specifications for the robotaxi are unknown, but it is believed to use an 800-volt electrical architecture and possibly take its electric motors from the 007 limousine. The M-Vision concept shown by Zeekr had sliding front and rear doors like a minivan to make it easier for passengers to get in and out. It also featured a spacious interior and a completely flat floor, making it ideal for taxi services.

    The new US tariffs could affect Waymo's robotaxis built in China