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Via Motors and PG&E Unveiling Extended-Range Electric Trucks, Vans and SUVs


GM seems to have hit the right button when it comes to electric cars, or, at least, extended range EVs. Or so thinks Bob Lutz, former GM executive, who now joined VIA Motors, a company whose aim is to rebuild America’s most loved trucks, SUVs and vans, but propel them by an electric motor instead of gas.

PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) joined VIA Motors in this quest back in 2008, and now they are unveiling their first prototype truck powered by a 15 kW battery and electric motor and a gas generator, for when the battery will have been drained of juice, after the 40 miles it is intended to run.

The eREVs (as they called them) can also double as an electricity backup for homes or for the electricity grid, by being able to integrate into a V2G-like system developed by PG&E.

The same system of range extension is being used by GM in their Volt car, and has so far gathered lots of kudos from its users worldwide. Unlike the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Roadster or any other purely-electric car, an extended-range EV uses a gas-powered generator to supply electricity to the electric motor.

However, there has been a scandal in the media when GM launched the Volt, because they revealed in a last-moment press release that a mechanical coupling will eventually kick in at high speeds and move the wheels directly. That happens when the electricity generator isn’t able to cope anymore with the increased power consumption, making the Volt act like a Prius or any other classic hybrid car.

Now, this is only a conceptual issue, imho. It doesn’t matter what they do to keep the mileage per gallon up in the clouds, as long as you pour less gasoline at the pump, does it? We don’t yet know what VIA’s approach will be on this aspect, but it’ll eventually come out sooner or later.


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