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Published on August 15th, 2012 | by Adam Johnston

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Electric Hybrid Trucks & SUVs from Via Motors Could Be a Game Changer

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August 15th, 2012 by
 
 
Don’t look now, but it looks like the evolution of electric automobiles may finally be turning towards trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) thanks to Via Motors.

Recently, I watched a video featuring Jay Leno’ s Garage. In the 12-minute video, Leno discusses what “more or less is a truck version of the Chevy Volt,” called VTrux. Via Motors board member Bob Lutz, who was instrumental in getting the Chevy Volt off the ground, further discussed the potential of these new hybrid electric trucks and SUVs in the market.

What I found interesting is that the new hybrid electric pickup truck will allow you to drive the first 40 miles purely on electricity, resulting in close to zero emissions. That is partly thanks to a 24kWh Li-ion battery pack as part of the Via Motors Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) power train. The vehicle takes about four hours to charge at 220, according to CarTech.

After it reaches the first 40 miles, a small V6 engine can give the truck an extra 400 miles, according to Lutz.
 

 
The new hybrid electric trucks will get around 100 estimated miles per gallon in fuel economy, according to Via Motors website. The company even points out that the new electric hybrid trucks can cut 75% off fuel costs. Meanwhile, charging the vehicle daily can possibly reduce refilling the gas tank to even less than ten times a year, and cost six cents per mile (driving in electric mode).

General Motors builds the basic specs of the truck, then sends it to Via Motors, who then electrically modifies it, Lutz said.

Currently, the first deliveries are going to big fleets, including PG&E, who are testing it out, Lutz said.  He expects high-volume production of standardized vehicles is eight to nine months out.

While some may have moaned about gas-guzzling SUV and pick-up trucks as environmentally unsustainable in the past (or even today), and sales of SUVs and pickup trucks have slowed in recent years, the idea of a hybrid electric pickup truck may pump some new life into the truck market, as Lutz acknowledged in the video. He noted that the drop in sales is due to high gas prices and their negative environmental impact. Of course, electric hybrid trucks get around both of those hurdles.

Sources:  egm CarTech, Via Motors
Image Credit: VTrux via Flickr

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About the Author

is a University of Winnipeg graduate who received a three-year B.A. with a combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications. Adam is currently attempting to become a freelance social media coordinator. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst, and is currently sharpening his skills as a renewable energy writer. Adam is also working on a book on cleantech and how to relate it to a broader audience. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or at www.adammjohnston.wordpress.com.



  • watchout

    Before you go jumping in head over-heals look at the ceo’s track record, in all likely hood this will never become viable. He sells BS better than anyone.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You talking about
      Kraig Higginson?

  • Bob_Wallace

    These could easily be game changers.  Lots of businesses need pickups and vans.  Businesses understand cost.  

    Let them plug in each night and start the day with forty gas-free miles, add in the much lower maintenance costs, and these vehicles are going to be popular.

    • http://www.facebook.com/moderategreencentrist Adam Johnston

      Thanks Bob for the comments. As much as I disagree with Bob Lutz on climate change, give the guy credit for being involved with such neat projects like the Chevy Volt and now this. 

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