VIA Motors Launches Volt-Like Vans and Pickup Trucks

By · January 17, 2013

Via Motors van

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.

Via Motors truck

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.

Comments

· · 1 year ago

Only problem I see is the numbers don't add up on their website.

For instance, the 110 volt plug they show is a standard table lamp style Nema 5-15. Since this is a 'continuous load' you would assume it is 12 ampere charging rate. You'd assume it would take EIGHTEEN Hours to recharge the 24 kwh battery, assuming 90% battery efficiency, etc.

The website says it happens in 8 hours, or 'half the time for 240, 4 hours'.. Plus Bob Lutz called it a '30 kwh battery' on the Jay Leno video. So either Lutz is the 'idea man' and not the 'detail man' ..
or, he knows 30 kwh is the absolute max capacity and Via software makes it an effective 24kwh, but either way, I don't know how u fully recharge that in 8 hours from a 110 volt 15 amp circuit.

Another thing is the export power module rated at 30 amps, 15 kw. 30 amps 240 is 7.2;; 30 amps 480 is 14.4, 30 amps 240 3phase is around 13 kw. So I can't make their numbers jibe with anything reasonably expected.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill,

The times you quote from their website sound very similar to the Volt's numbers - 8hrs on 120V, 4hrs on 240V. Maybe whomever wrote that cut some corners without understanding that although they have the same range as the Volt, they need a larger battery, and hence longer to recharge? I can't claim to make sense of this one either.

As for the battery size, it seems that 30kWh battery / 24kWh useable (80%) is fairly reasonable. If the Volt goes 40 miles on less than 11kWh, a much larger vehicle requiring more than twice the energy is like a pickup getting 12MPG to a compact's 30MPG.

· · 1 year ago

@Brian Schwerdt

Uh, yeah, u'd think someone associated with the company would know something.. Fancy that...

I mean apparently the trucks do roll, since they've given 2 demonstators to PG&E for testing... Maybe Pacific Gas knows how long they take to charge. But I'm betting its the exact same arrangement as the volt. (3.3kw) But they don't have the Export Option info anywhere close to Right either.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill,

You're an engineer, right? You should know first-hand that by the time the Engineers talk to the Managers talk to Marketing talks to ... information gets corrupted. I've certainly worked with people in the same company as me "telling" me the facts of products I've worked on. They are often wrong.

· · 1 year ago

@Brian

Hummm, the point is though the non-technical user would ALSO like to know how fast this thing will charge.. 2 examples for the, shall we say, Non-Initiated.

1). I have this plain old looking wall plug in my garage and I wonder if I can recharge the thing fully in 12 hours (their brouchure says 8 but I would bet at 12 amp 120volt rate, it would take 18 hours so the answer is really NO).

2). I'm going out to dinner and My ViaScalade won't be in the garage this much today. If I Plug the thing in to this Dinky Leviton thing that someone installed for me with the gas pump shaped plug at 1 AM can I have a full charge by 6 AM? (their brouchure states 4 hours, so even though the Leviton 160 is good for a full 16 amps this volt style charger will only draw 14 , so I'd bet the answer is really at least 8 hours so the answer again is really NO).

· · 1 year ago

@Brian

Hummm, the point is though the non-technical user would ALSO like to know how fast this thing will charge.. 2 examples for the, shall we say, Non-Initiated.

1). I have this plain old looking wall plug in my garage and I wonder if I can recharge the thing fully in 12 hours (their brouchure says 8 but I would bet at 12 amp 120volt rate, it would take 18 hours so the answer is really NO).

2). I'm going out to dinner and My ViaScalade won't be in the garage this much today. If I Plug the thing in to this Dinky Leviton thing that someone installed for me with the gas pump shaped plug at 1 AM can I have a full charge by 6 AM? (their brouchure states 4 hours, so even though the Leviton 160 is good for a full 16 amps this volt style charger will only draw 14 , so I'd bet the answer is really at least 8 hours so the answer again is really NO).

· · 1 year ago

@Bill,

Don't get me wrong - I absolutely agree that the numbers don't really seem to make sense. This company needs to get their act together and get the numbers right. My point is more that I believe your supposition that "Lutz is the 'idea man' and not the 'detail man' " is probably closer to the truth that some intentional misstatement of facts.

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