Electric trucks to get a boost: VIA Motors signs deal with DoE for corporate fleets

I know it seems like we always talk about electric cars in this newsletter, but this news from VIA Motors gives us a chance to show some love for electric trucks, too.

VIA Motors, which is fronted by Bob Lutz, who led the GM team behind the Volt, has announced a $20 million deal with DoE Helps Make VIA Motors Product Lineup A Realitythe Department of Energy to allow the company to supply fleets, including public agencies and utilities with electric trucks.

Based in Utah, VIA has developed a powertrain that allows SUVs and light trucks, like the Chevrolet Silverado, drive the first 40 miles in all-electric mode with near zero emissions, and a full range of 400 miles on a single fill-up.

According to a report on Inside EVs, “the basic premise of the deal is that the DoE will provide matching funds to help more than 50 public agencies buy some fairly expensive trucks and vans (the VTRUX starts from $79,000).” In return for the funding, VIA will install proprietary equipment to upload all the usage data for research studies.

“The pick-up truck is the number one selling vehicle in America and VIA Motors is the only automaker building electric light-duty pick-up trucks, cargo vans and passenger vans,” Alan Perriton, VIA Motors president said at the Plug-In 2013 electric vehicle show in San Diego earlier this month.

“The all-in cost is actually lower than driving a gas truck; this is very welcome news to budget-constrained fleet purchasers who spend more and more each year on ever-increasing gas prices, who can now save money and reduce their fleet emissions.”

This new infusion of money is what most likely gave VIA the confidence to announce that they will begin selling their products direct to consumers early next year, rather than only to fleet purchasers, according to the report.

What this tells us is that there is definitely a role for government at all levels to build the future of this industry—the right kind of support at the right time can make a huge difference.

And the time is right right now.