It's not exactly "Leo buys a Fisker Karma" territory, but at least we're talking about a company that's still in business. In this case, it's Via Motors, converter of GM vans and pickup trucks into extended-range plug-in vehicles. The company is getting its own bit of movie magic, courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

A Via van made its "in-service" debut as a shuttle service for Heretic Films. The film producer hosted a number of debuts at the annual festival, and Via says the shuttle's been a good test because of the full payloads and high altitude. A bit of green cred within the Hollywood set doesn't hurt, either.

Via's plug-in vehicles can go as far as 40 miles on electric power alone. The company has had a good month, scoring an $80-million contract with Canada's Sun Country Highway. That company, appropriately, is helping build a plug-in vehicle charging network across Canada. Late last year, Via opened its first-ever production assembly line in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and the announcement was made shortly after Via won a $20-million contract to supply trucks to California's South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). You can check out Via's press release on the Sundance Shuttle below.
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VIA Provides World's First Electric Shuttle Van Services to Filmmakers at Sundance Film Festival

January 22nd, 2014

Park City, UT – VIA Motors announced today that the world's first extended range electric passenger van by VIA Motors, made its in-service debut at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, providing private VIP electric shuttle van services to filmmakers and guests in association with Heretic Films.

Heretic Films, founded by Burton Richie and Ben Galecki, hosted several film premiers and special events at the festival including a special screening of the documentary, "Fed Up," presented by executive producer and television news anchor Katie Couric, and a special premiere celebration for "Misery Loves Company" directed by Kevin Pollak, and many others.

"We were very pleased to be the first to provide electric shuttle services to our VIP guests here at Sundance," said Burton Ritchie. "VIA's clean electric vehicles echoes our strong commitment to the environment and we hope that this event will aid in their eventual adoption worldwide," Burton concluded.

VIA's new electrified passenger van is now available for purchase by commercial fleets and VIA plans to begin delivery within the first quarter of this year.

"We have been extremely pleased with the van's performance at the festival, running up and down the 10,000 foot mountain day in and day out with a full payload of passengers," said John Weber, VIA CEO. "The festival provides us with the perfect opportunity to let filmmakers and the media see for themselves that electric vehicles are "ready for prime time" in almost any type of duty," concluded Weber.

About the Sundance Film Festival:

The Sundance Film Festival is a program of the Sundance Institute, founded by Robert Redford. It is the world's largest most influential independent film festival, and attracts filmmakers, distributors, celebrities and a huge audience worldwide to Park City, Utah.

About VIA Motors

VIA Motors is a privately held electric vehicle development and manufacturing company. VIA employs a streamlined second stage manufacturing process to integrate its proprietary V-DRIVE™ power train into new OEM vehicles, then sells directly to fleets under the VTRUX™ brand name. VIA VTRUX deliver up to 40-mile battery range and unlimited extended range, averaging over 100 mpg in typical daily driving. More information at: VIAmotors.com. Video with Bob Lutz: VIAmotors.com/erev. Online calculator to estimate savings: VIAmotors.com/payback


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      Aaron
      • 10 Months Ago
      VIA's trucks are EREVs, not PHEVs. The difference is EREVs are serial hybrids (think BMW i3) and PHEVs are parallel hybrids (think Chevy Volt). Serial hybrids have no direct connection between the ICE and the drivetrain. Parallel hybrids do (in the case of the Volt, it's connected through its 3-clutch system).
        Marco Polo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Aaron
        @ Aaron, Hate to bust an 'urban myth' , but the term "Extended Range Electric Vehicle" is a term dating back to the 1950's. GM just revived and popularized the term, as a marketing description for it's Voltec drive-train. In the vernacular, the term EREV, is generally employed to distinguish a vehicle which is primarily designed to operate as a rechargeable electric vehicle, but with an ICE engine to extend the range and/or recharge the battery, once the battery is depleted. The term PHEV has become accepted as describing a vehicle which is primarily a conventional hybrid, but has a facility for the batteries to be recharged from a power outlet. EV detractors, and EV purists, both ignore the distinction between PHEV and EREV, in an effort to downrate this class of vehicle.
        Doug
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Aaron
        ehh.. whateves. EREV is at least a type of PHEV. In fact GM created EREV as a marketing term for the Chevy Volt.
        Joeviocoe
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Aaron
        The Volt is both parallel and series. It is connected by clutches, so the computer can decide which mode is best at the time. EREV is only used by GM to attempt to distinguish from a Prius. A PHEV is very inclusive of many types of systems. As long as it has a plug, and an electric drive... it is a PHEV.
      Doug
      • 10 Months Ago
      First time I've heard of a Via vehicle actually being put to use. Good for them.