Chrysler supplies minivans to Kango, a ridesharing service for families

Chrysler Kango Pacifica Hybrid
Whether it’s busy commuters or people heading out for a night of partying, ridesharing caters mostly to individuals. But Chrysler is trying to reach a different group of customers.

The automaker is teaming up with Kango, a startup that provides rides and childcare services for families. Under the partnership, Chrysler will lease Pacifica Hybrid plug-in hybrid minivans to eligible Kango drivers. While General Motors already provides vehicles to rideshare drivers through its Maven sub-brand, Chrysler claims the partnership with Kango is the first in the U.S. to involve a family-oriented ridesharing service.

California-based Kango will begin deploying the minivans in San Francisco this fall. Kango currently operates in six counties across the San Francisco Bay Area, with 250 drivers, all of whom underwent a screening process before taking paying passengers.

Chrysler and Kango believe the Pacifica Hybrid will be good for trips that involve multiple pickups and drop-offs. That will allow a driver to pickup several kids from the same neighborhood and drop them off at school, for example. The Pacifica Hybrid also offers fuel efficiency and green credibility, perfect for eco-conscious California.

The Pacifica Hybrid is actually a plug-in hybrid. Unlike a conventional hybrid, it can be plugged into a charging station like an electric car, and can operate for an appreciable distance solely on electric power. The Pacifica Hybrid has an electric-only range of 33 miles, according to the EPA, and can achieve 84 MPGe combined running on both gasoline and electric power.

Chrysler isn’t the first automaker to get involved with ridesharing, and it probably won’t be the last. GM’s Maven offers low-cost vehicle rentals to Uber and Lyft drivers, and the automaker invested $500 million in Lyft last year. Ford is eyeing ridesharing services for its promised self-driving car, due in 2021.

Automakers, tech companies, and assorted analysts believe ridesharing will increase dramatically in popularity, and may erode car sales. Car companies are preparing for that possibility, and for the potential profits that may come from running their own ridesharing services. Whether Chrysler’s family-friendly approach will help it stand out in this scramble remains to be seen.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for December 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles, as well as bundles that feature games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Cars

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Self-driving cars, ocean exploration, and holiday shopping

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discussed the first self-driving car service in Phoenix, an expedition heading to the bottom of the world's oceans, and talked to Liz Dunn from Pro4ma about holiday shopping trends.
Cars

Waymo becomes the first company to charge for rides in self-driving cars

Waymo has launched a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in the Phoenix area. It's the first U.S. company to generate revenue by putting passengers in autonomous cars. Waymo One is only available to a select group of…
News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.
Cars

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.
Cars

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.
Cars

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.
Cars

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Cars

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.
Cars

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.