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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