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Bob Lutz Unveils Via Motors’ eREV VTRUX Extended-Range EV Pickup at NAIAS
The Via eREV VTRUX pickup will go into production next year and ramp up production to 20,000 units at some point after that. Via also has an SUV and van in the works, both pictured here. All three vehicles, which are much larger than other extended-range EVs currently on the market, claim ranges of 30-40 miles on battery alone, with a total range of 350 miles using the generator, which works out to an average of 100 mpg, just like the Volt. Alan Perriton, VIA Motors’ COO and another former GM executive, said that all VIA vehicles “can deliver the power and performance of a V8, with better fuel economy than many smaller cars, by driving on electricity for about $2 a day.” The idea, according to Perriton, is to “electrify the most popular vehicles in America,” giving mainstream buyers practical options that are green and save them thousands on maintenance and gas. We had a unique opportunity to test drive the eREV VTRUX in the basement of Cobo Hall in Detroit, where they had an entire fleet of new EVs ready to zip around an indoor test track cleanly and silently. We were impressed with the easy acceleration of the VTRUX, though we didn’t have the space to get up to high speeds. The VTRUX keeps the weighty feeling of its traditional gas engine cousin, but it also feels light on its feet and is refreshingly devoid of fumes. All we could hear as we zipped around the test track was the tires squeaking on the super clean floor, and the only feeling was of smooth electric power underneath and the breeze in our face through the window. We can see how people would love these rebadged Chevy trucks and vans once they realize that an electric truck can mean the utility of a truck with zero emissions, zero noise, and significantly lower costs. Who knows how Via will fare, but we’re sold on the concept.
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