Via Motors, the extended-range plug-in hybrid utility vehicle maker that unveiled the VTrux at the Detroit Auto Show this January, has reached an agreement to provide Verizon Communications with a test fleet of vehicles.

Via will provide Verizon with a pickup truck and cargo van for the testing program. Via says its trucks could quadruple fleetwide fuel economy and cut greenhouse-gas emissions in half. The companies didn't disclose how many vehicles would be tested or how long the testing program would last.

Via's unveiled plug-in hybrid prototypes work vehicles include a truck, SUV and van. Via has started taking orders for the Extended-Range Electric VTrux – a converted Chevrolet Silverado – and will be doing the same for the SUV and van later this year. Initial pricing is expected to be in the $70,000 range.

Via, whose board of directors includes former General Motors vice cfhairman and Chevrolet Volt developer Bob Lutz, has pitched the truck's electric-only range at about 40 miles before the on-board gas-powered generator kicks in. The company is hoping to reach an annual target of 20,000 vehicles over the next few years. Via grew out of Raser Technologies, best known for converting a Hummer H3 to a plug-in hybrid.
Show full PR text
VIA Motors and Verizon to Develop Innovative Electric Vehicles for Verizon's Fleet

March 6th, 2012Press Releases

INDIANAPOLIS – Verizon and VIA Motors announced today, that they will collaborate to develop and demonstrate plug-in electric work vehicles using VIA's proprietary eREV (extended range electric vehicle) technology and evaluate the technology for possible wide scale application into Verizon's fleet.

The announcement was made at a press conference held today at the National Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, where VIA demonstrated an "electrified" pick-up truck and cargo van, two of the most widely used vehicles in Verizon's fleet, and provided test drives for the media and the public at the show.

Both models use VIA's proprietary eREV power train technology, enabling them to drive a majority of their daily work routes emission-free and entirely on electric power. The vehicles have up to 40 miles of all-electric range using advanced technology lithium ion batteries, with the added capability to drive unlimited additional miles using VIA's onboard electric generator or "range extender." Both vehicles can be charged from a typical 110V household outlet overnight for as little as $1 a day in some states.

In independent testing, VIA's eREV pick-up trucks have demonstrated up to 100 mpg in typical fleet driving. VIA anticipates the Verizon electrified work vehicles should improve fleet fuel economy up to 300% while cutting emissions in half or more.

"At Verizon, we're in the business of breaking down old technology barriers to drive innovation," said Verizon's Chief Sustainability Officer James Gowen. "By collaborating with VIA on this extended range technology we hope to create a game-changing opportunity for Verizon and other industries to reduce emissions and cut maintenance costs without having to wait years for large-scale electric charging infrastructure."

In addition to significant fuel savings, Verizon anticipates utilizing the vehicles onboard generator and power export option to power work tools or even provide power to their network in an emergency. Work vehicles, which typically carry thousands of pounds of equipment and cargo, can save significantly more money than lighter vehicles by shifting to electricity that costs just 50 cents per equivalent gallon in many states.

Cargo vans and pick-up trucks are widely used by Verizon and many other large fleets from communications to delivery fleets and contractors. Electrifying these work vehicles could have a significant impact on reducing emissions and oil consumption nationwide.

"We are impressed with Verizon's leadership and commitment to the environment and look forward to helping them electrify their large fleet. We anticipate that by demonstrating substantial operational savings through this project, Verizon will lead the way for many other fleets, demonstrating that going green actually saves money," said Kraig Higginson, CEO, VIA Motors.

About VIA Motors

VIA Motors is a privately held electric vehicle development and manufacturing company. VIA has developed a proprietary 650-volt eREV drive system technology designed for full size trucks and SUVs called the VIA V-Drive™. VIA employs a streamlined second stage manufacturing process to integrate its proprietary eREV power train into new OEM vehicles then sells directly to fleets under the VTRUX™ brand name. VIA VTRUX deliver up to 40-mile EV range and up to 400-mile extended range, averaging over 100 mpg in typical daily driving. Initially, VIA plans to sell directly to fleets, then later to consumers. VIA plans to scale its technology to many other vehicles and will ramp up production to 30,000 units per year over the next few years adding additional models and sizes. More information on VIA Motors may be found at: To see a video on VTRUX with Bob Lutz go to

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with nearly 108 million total connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 194,000. For more information, visit


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      How big is the U.S. market for delivery trucks?
        • 8 Months Ago
        It's huge ( and the market for delivery trucks is as well). I have looked at this as a great test bed for electrics. Routes with predictable mileage, and predicted down times ( charging). City delivery, industrial, etc., fleets especially. Marco's Smith Trucks is doing well in this area, I believe.
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Ezee You are absolutely correct. The natural market for EV's is light commercial. Smiths are great vehicles. But so too are the countless numbers of little commercial specialist EV's, quietly, economically, humbly trundling around doing a great job. These vehicles are often overlooked by EV fans, but companies like Varney, Goupil, Jacobsen, Taylor-Dunn and countless others have been producing EV for over 100 years. As Dave Mart rightly points out, Renault's Kangoo EV is a very important little vehicle. In the short term, far more important in environmental impact than all passenger EV's.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Nick, The actual statistic is hard to separate from light trucks and pick-ups. However, the US sales for this class vehicle average 260,000 per year. That figure is from leasing, finance, insurance data and may be subject to a 12% variance.
        • 8 Months Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Bob, I want a Volt and I want this truck. "Via, whose board of directors includes former General Motors vice cfhairman and Chevrolet Volt developer Bob Lutz, has pitched the truck's electric-only range ..." The CEO is also a former GM executive. I think he worked in Asia. Not sure, but I think GM Ventures invested in this company (?). This brave, little toaster of a company has a big future, probably becoming GMC or Chevy Trucks.
      • 8 Months Ago
      All very promising, but GM and Ford should already be in production. Renault and specialist makers are leaving Toyota, GM and Ford behind with vehicles like the excellent little Renault Kangoo EV. Hyundai are racing into production with EV, EREV and Hybrid Vans and light delivery vehicles, followed closely by the ROC's Yulon Motors. These vehicles will first be built and marketed in volume in Asia and the Pacific, then exported to the US at prices unmatchable by Ford or GM, the US corporations will once again wake up to another market lost to them through neglect. Ford should have learned from the fiasco that is the uncompetitive, Ford Connect EV. This is one area Chrysler could dominate if it tried. GM, has the technology and the vehicles, GM just lacks the vision! (Bright Automotive should have been supported by at least one of the big three)
        • 8 Months Ago
        Mitsubishi is making a very large effort too, and without delving into the Japanese press, I believe it is over an extensive range of categories.
    Share This Photo X