Bob Lutz recently stopped by to see Jay Leno at the comedian's Big Dog Garage, and the legendary auto executive has brought along his latest project, an extended-range VTrux electric pickup by Via Motors. The creation combines a 4.3-liter V6 with an electric motor to offer around 50 miles of all-electric driving and a full range of 300 miles. When connected to a 220-volt outlet, the truck takes just four hours to fully charge. What's more, Lutz says Via Motors can install the same driveline in full-size General Motors vans as well as models like the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and, of course, the Cadillac Escalade.

Leno seems pretty taken with the final product, saying he can't tell a difference between the VTrux plug-in hybrid and a standard Silverado pickup, save for its quiet operation. Just like in the Chevrolet Volt, once the batteries go dead, the V6 under the hood takes over to turn a generator to provide power to charge the batteries of the electric motor once again. It sounds like a pretty neat setup, though there's always the looming question of cost – Via Motors estimates the price of a Silverado-based VTRUX at $79,000 – when built "in volume." Check out the full episode of Jay Leno's Garage featuring Bob Lutz below.



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  • 43 Comments
      d.hollywood
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm totally sold.Price it like a pick-up...and I'll order one.
      The Wasp
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm assuming this is the 'classic'/ancient GM 4.3L engine. I'm not saying it's unreliable but it seems odd they would use that as the gas engine instead of a more modern gas engine (perhaps GM's 3.6L or 3.0L V6).
        Val
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        Maybe this V6 is much much cheaper.
        PM
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        Also, the V6 isn't driving the vehicle, it's just to generate electricity.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PM
          [blocked]
        axiomatik
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        This V6 already mounts to the chassis since the truck was engineered with this engine to begin with.
      rmyzer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yea....the fuel going bad is a problem. Sounds like they should be dropping a diesel powerplant in there instead, as diesel has a significantly better shelf storage life. Ask a farmer that leaves equipment in fields for over half a year.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
        Dark Gnat
        • 2 Years Ago
        Yep, there's the inevitable gubment motors card. It's been played. It's old.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        caddy-v
        • 2 Years Ago
        So does this mean you're not going to have Lutz's baby?
        Malik Abuelaileh
        • 2 Years Ago
        The V6 never applies direct power to the drive train. Its only purpose is to drive the generator when needed. So your direct drive argument is invalid.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Malik Abuelaileh
          [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Scr
      • 2 Years Ago
      So a pretty loaded Silverado runs about $40k. A fleet work truck checks in in the low $20k's range. This vehicle will cost nearly $80k. So it would take $40k in gas just to break even for the loaded truck, and $60k for a fleet truck. Thats a lot of gas. If gas were $4 a gallon, and we assume an average of 19mpg, that works out to 190,000 miles just to break even for the loaded truck, and about 285,000 miles for the fleet truck. This of course does not count the cost of electricity or battery replacement. You will still need the same engine maintenance, as there is a gas engine in there, after all. Knowing the service life of fleet vehicles, it will never even come close to paying for itself, as these vehicles really don't last for those kinds of miles before they are sold off or retired because they simply fall apart from use and lack of maintenenace on things like the body rusting off. I'd love to see them, it just still is not even remotely cost efficient in the long term and are mere toys for utilities to playwith at the rate-payer's expense.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        [blocked]
        John Ward
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        Once production ramps up and with future battery improvements the price of these things will make sense. We just need some early adapters to keep driving them until the price is economical for everyone else. Plus you will probably see an average of 15mpg in actual use of the stock truck. It doesn't make much of a difference in your calculations, but i have never gotten close to the rated highway mileage and I drive 100 mile of highway each day.
      NIELMAR
      • 2 Years Ago
      SCR, get over yourself and cheer up ... it's a start.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @NIELMAR
        [blocked]
          Dark Gnat
          • 2 Years Ago
          How dare you call yourself "thor"? You are not of Asgard and not worthy enough to lick the hooves of Sleipnir. Away with you, troll!
      ThucBiDza
      • 2 Years Ago
      Trucks and SUVs, America fuk yea!
      Neil Mccoy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Leno needs to take the drive-train of that truck, and put it in something like a late '20's early '30's Cadillac or Packard. You know he's thinking about it, and he's got the money the connections and the garage to do it.
      joe shmoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      sounds like a good idea, just not at the price point.
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz is to retirement as Jay Z is.
        Carbon Fibre
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        ...to continue pumping out sh*t music in which other losers will buy. Hey, I won't stop :D
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