Via Motors has passed an important milestone in getting its extended-range electric vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs into the hands of fleet customers.

The Utah-based company says it has successfully completed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification testing, and has already begun delivering vehicles accordingly.

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Via says 23 vans have already been delivered, with three more in transit and more on the way as the company works to fill any early orders.

Via Motors CEO Pablo Acedo and eREV extended-range electric vans.

Via Motors CEO Pablo Acedo and eREV extended-range electric vans.

It's also working with the Electric Power Research Institute and the South Coast Air Quality Management District--which is in charge of controlling air pollution in the Los Angeles area--to deliver plug-in vehicles to electric utility fleets as part of a demonstration program supported by the Department of Energy.

The van is based on a Chevrolet Express, but the standard V-8 and transmission are replaced with a complete plug-in powertrain, consisting of a 4.8-liter gasoline V-8, 175-kilowatt electric motor, and 22-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.

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Via previously estimated the electric-only range at around 35 miles, with a total range of 400 miles on both gasoline and electric power.

Average fuel economy is estimated at 100 mpg in mixed driving, but that "blended" figure assumes the van will be driven no more than 60 or 70 miles on daily use. The more miles driven on gasoline, the lower the effective mpg.

The van also features a 110-volt power takeoff, which allows operators to plug in power tools and other electrical devices.

Via Motors extended-range electric van

Via Motors extended-range electric van

Wearing eREV--Extended Range Electric Vehicle--badging, the van will join Via's line of VTrux plug-in trucks based on other General Motors models, including a Chevy Silverado-based pickup and Suburban-based SUV.

The pickup and SUV use a different powertrain from the van, consisting of a 4.3-liter V-6, 300-kW electric motor, and 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. That combination is good for the same 100 mpg, Via says.

MORE: Via Motors Latest To Try Electric Vehicle-To-Home Backup Power Tech

While early estimates put the base price of each variant at around $79,000, the fleet customers Via is targeting may still see some savings.

That's because lower fuel costs are expected to offset the higher purchase price over the lifetime of the vehicle.


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