Bob Lutz, General Motors [GM] ex-vice chairman, is now heading up efforts to produce a series of extended-range electric vehicles [eREV] that are nothing like the Chevy Volt he championed whilst in the GM circle. Recently, he mentioned he should have started bigger, and bigger is what he’s done at VIA Motors.
No one disputes that cargo vans and full-size pickup trucks are some of the least fuel efficient vehicles on the road, and these are precisely the ones that could benefit most from eREV technology.
VIA Motors and Bob Lutz were showing off the new eREV lineup, including the X-Truck full-size pickup truck, the Presidential SUV, an Escalade-class full-size SUV, and the VTRUX, a full-size cargo van. The new models look suspiciously like other GM models, but of course they would, such as the X-Truck, a heavily modified Chevy Silverado.
The Silverado gasoline power-train has been completely stripped, and in its place, an eREV system consisting of a 402 hp electric motor, a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and a 5.3ℓ V8 150 kW generator. The X-Truck’s power-train is essentially the same as that in a Chevy Volt, only sized up for use in a full-size pickup truck. Similar eREV setups are
VIA Motors eREV power-train was designed in collaboration with Pacific Gas & Electric [PG&E], whose fleet consists of full-size pickup trucks, SUVs, and work vans. Committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, not only in power generation, but also in its work fleet, PG&E and VIA have been working together since 2008 to develop an eREV that is suited to the heavy workload.
The Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] hasn’t released any official fuel-economy ratings, but VIA is claiming that with a 40-mile EV range and using the gasoline engine only as a generator, the X-Truck can achieve over 100 MPGe. The VIA Motors Presidential and VTRUX are expected to get similar fuel economy.