From the Los Angeles Auto Show, Bob Lutz was on hand to announce the startup for production of VIA Motors pick up trucks and vans to begin next year.
Lutz is well known for championing extended range electric technology while at General Motors, preferring it over hybrid or all-electric technology, particularly in full size vehicles.
“VIA’s unique approach in working hand-in-hand with OEMs like General Motors to transform conventional full size vehicles into extended range electric vehicles, will make electric power train options more practical and available to a broader market,” noted Lutz. “Although packed with advanced technology, the fuel savings and other benefits of an electrified pick up or van, can actually make it less expensive to drive than a conventional truck over time.”
Alan Perriton, president of VIA Motors – which has relied on Lutz as GM’s former vice chairman to open doors - gave the actual word outlining the launch of trucks that will share underlying operational principles with the Chevy Volt, an idea Lutz championed while at GM.
“VIA plans to begin production on the van this year and will ramp up production on three electrified models in 2014 at VIA’s new high volume facility in Mexico, including a 4WD half-ton pick up truck, based on the Chevy Silverado crew cab, and a three quarter ton cargo van, and passenger van based on the Chevy Express,” said Perriton, “We are working cooperatively with the California Air Resource Board to complete certification and are now ready to begin volume production, utilizing our new high volume facility in Mexico.” [Video below shows plant]
VIA said it has been working with leading fleets to develop a clean, economical electrified trucks and vans, and has been very pleased with their performance in fleet applications.
Joining Perriton and Lutz on stage in Los Angeles was newly appointed VIA CEO, John Weber, former president and CEO of Remy International, Inc, a key supplier to GM and VIA Motors.
“I joined VIA because it has a product that makes economic sense, and also happens to be good for the environment,” said Weber. “In addition to begin filling VIA’s backlog of fleet orders this year, VIA will soon begin taking orders for consumer sales in 2014,” Weber concluded.
The company has been developing its products and business model for the past couple years now, and is accumulating respectable players from the industry. It has reportedly proven its extended-range products in pilot projects with fleet operators who are known to be bottom-line driven in choosing vehicles.
Apparently it is so far, so good, as VIA approaches the coming year.