Via (pronounced Veeyah) Motors has just announced it has EPA certification for the newest model in its VTRUX lineup: a full-size light-duty van that can travel 40 miles on electricity and get more than 100 mpg in typical daily driving. The certification means that Via can now sell the van to fleets across the country. Because the new electric powertrains include a combustion engine that acts as a generator when the battery power falls below a certain level, the government must monitor and measure emissions.
Based in Orem, Utah, Via is an electric vehicle development and manufacturing company that converts conventional gas-engine-and-transmission vehicles into electric vehicles powered by a full battery pack and electric motors that drive the wheels. The Via system also uses a small gas engine to generate electricity when necessary.
Via has an assembly plant in Mexico near the GM plant where the Chevrolet Silverado-based half-ton VTRUX pickup truck is built. Sales for the commercial workhorse have gained momentum as Via targets city and state fleet buyers, and major airport markets, both of which are likely to have shorter, standardized routes suited to these vehicles.
Via Motors is currently working with the Electric Power Research Institute and the South Coast Air Quality Management District in California to deliver plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to utility fleets as part of a nationwide demonstration supported by the Department of Energy.
The Via Motors' VTRUX van is based on the Chevy Express 1500 full-size van equipped with the 4.8-liter Vortec V-8. The vans are shipped from GM's Wentzville, Mo., plant to Utah to have the new range-extending powertrains installed.