VIA Motors Launches Volt-Like Vans and Pickup Trucks
As we reported earlier this week, Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors, and now a member of the board at VIA Motors board member, on Monday unveiled an alternative-technology vehicle to be used by Verizon.
As opposed to plug-in models, like the Cadillac ELR, which are not yet in production, Verizon's electrified work van will be deployed immediately into its fleets in New Jersey and New York. The technology behind Verizon's vans, and a future truck, is VIA Motor's proprietary eREV system. It's similar to the extended-range technology that propels the Chevy Volt, but in this application it's utilized on significantly larger automobiles.
According to VIA Motors, Verizon's electrified work vehicles should "improve fleet fuel economy by up to 300 percent while cutting emissions in half or more." That's possible due to the vehicles electric-only range of up to 40 miles, which VIA Motors claims contributes to real-world efficiency of 100 miles per gallon in typical fleet driving.
Why's this important? Since fleet vehicles put on more miles than personal automobiles, and those work vehicles consume millions of gallons of fuel per year, slashing use across this segment would have a significant and immediate impact—conceivably more than selling tens of thousands of plug-in vehicles to the public.
"By collaborating with VIA on this extended range technology, we hope to create a game-changing opportunity for Verizon and other industries," said Verizon’s chief sustainability officer James Gowen, "to reduce emissions and cut maintenance costs without having to wait years for large-scale electric charging infrastructure."
Cargo vans and pick-up trucks are widely used by fleets around the globe. Electrifying these work vehicles could be key to achieving tougher global standards for emissions and efficiency.
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