VIA Motors’ electric pickup trucks and vans have been selected for a major contract.

In a press conference held October 2 at the Plug-In 2013 electric vehicle show in San Diego, VIA Motors president Alan Perriton announced that VIA has signed a contract to build and deliver $20 million worth of electric pick-up trucks and vans to over 50 participating fleets.

In addition, VIA said it will install proprietary technology into each vehicle that will record and transmit real-time data to allow the DOE to quantify improvements in fuel economy and emissions.

The contract is administered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) acting as project manager. The California Energy Commission is also participating the program.

VIA said the DoE plans to publish the data for use by government agencies, participating fleets and the general public to use to help quantify the benefits of operating plug-in electric vehicles.

VIA said its electrified pickup trucks have already demonstrated the potential to reduce gas consumption and emissions by up to 80 percent on average in early beta testing with large fleet customers.

“Plug in electric passenger vehicles are now becoming widely commercialized,” said Matt Miyasato, SCAQMD’s deputy executive officer for Science and Technology Advancement. “Expanding the commercialization of near zero-emission vehicles to include pickups and cargo vans will drive us closer to our goal of a near-zero emission transportation sector.”

According to VIA, the program includes technology installed in each vehicle that will record and transmit data to the Idaho National Lab (INL) for analysis by the DOE and EPRI. INL is one of the nation’s leading national labs operated by the DOE and specializes in evaluating vehicle performance and energy consumption.

“The pick-up truck is the number one selling vehicle in America and VIA Motors is the only automaker building electric light-duty pick-up trucks, cargo vans and passenger vans,” noted Alan Perriton, VIA Motors president. “The all-in cost is actually lower than driving a gas truck; this is very welcome news to budget-constrained fleets who spend more and more each year on ever-increasing gas prices, who can now save money and reduce their fleet emissions.”