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Via Motors To Show More Plug-In Electric Trucks In Detroit

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Via Motors extended-range electric truck conversion launch, 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Via Motors extended-range electric truck conversion launch, 2012 Detroit Auto Show

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Electric vehicle startups come and go, but it's harder to ignore one fronted by "father of the Chevy Volt" Bob Lutz.

That startup is Via Motors, producer of electric trucks, and it's set to unveil three new full-size electric vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Diversifying from mere work trucks, the range of extended-range electric vehicles is to include a high-performance, 4WD truck with up to 800 horsepower--known as the 'X-Truck'.

Alongside this, Via will also be launching a technology-packed, luxury class 4WD SUV, and an extended-range electric 12-passenger van, for ride-share and shuttle applications.

With Via's existing models based on Chevrolet vehicles, it's likely the new models will follow suit, based on models like the Suburban and Express.

Via's approach is to electrify the more gas-guzzling vehicles on the market, bringing about the greatest improvements over the standard models. Naturally, emissions are reduced, as well as fuel cost.

Using technology similar to that in the Chevrolet Volt, Via's trucks maintain the same range benefits as their traditional counterparts, but offer up to 40 miles of electric range--covering many short trips.

Via's existing trucks are also powerful, producing 400 horsepower and 300 lbs-ft of torque--maintaining the utility users expect.

Operators will have to consider purchase price, however. Like many electric vehicles, they're pricier than regular trucks--Via touting an initial purchase price of $79,000 for its trucks.

Follow more coverage from the 2013 Detroit Auto Show by heading to our dedicated show page.

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Comments (4)
  1. For that price plus very expensive battery replacement costs I don't see any advantage of the product other than some savings on fuel consumption. Battery degradation is another drawback. You have to be a very high mileage daily user in order to decide to invest on a VIA truck. Even so, you will be "spending" extra $.30-$.40 each mile you travel just to cover that replacement. I can't see the advantage.
     
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  2. Hybrid is a stepping stone to full electric. take a look at EV engineering in Australia taking a big sedan, replacing the gas drive train with electric right on the factory floor, and placing the swappable battery in front. Torque galore. Much easier to do in a truck, and less pricey to boot, because the owner does not buy the battery
     
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  3. That is an expensive premium to pay. Assuming similar performance and options, that is about $40k in price premium. Even with $10k tax incentives, it would still require a $30k upfront price premium. @15mpg and $4/gallon, it would take 112,500 miles to break even. Of course, some people will pay for that. However if it comes with nice features such as portable/power/efficent on board generator, then it would make the price premium a little bit better to justify.

    Still, it is hard to do it just for fuel saving. I think a $10k - $15k premium is somewhat okay. But $30k is just too much.
     
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  4. Can't see this going very far. Lutz needs to have Tesla design an affordable truck for him.
     
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