Via Motors extended-range electric truck conversion launch, 2012 Detroit Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
At the launch event, Greg Pruitt of Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation's largest electric utility, spoke of the huge reductions in both fuel cost and maintenance expenses that the Via trucks offered.
PG&E estimated that it could reduce its annual maintenance cost by $7,000 per vehicle, he said, as compared to an equivalent vehicle fitted with a diesel engine.
About that price ...
The answer to the title question, by the way? Via's website is now accepting $1,000 deposits on an anticipated selling price of $79,000 if sufficient orders are received. Deliveries are projected for 2013.
That's a number that can be justified by fuel savings over the 10-plus-year life of a pickup truck in certain types of fleet use, under certain duty cycles.
But it's less likely to appeal to private buyers who can't amortize the entire cost of their truck as a business expense.
Which means that, as Via acknowledges, it's a vehicle for fleet purchases and not for private individuals.