VIA Motors expects to sell 50,000 of its plug-in pickups and vans per year by 2018, Chairman Bob Lutz told Bloomberg this week. For 2015, he said, the company would be happy to sell about 12,000 vehicles.
VIA will start selling the pickups to fleet customers in February and to individuals by the end of the year, Lutz said. FedEx, PG&E, Duke Energy and Verizonhave already placed orders. Sun Country Highway has agreed to buy 1,000 pickups and delivery vans, and will distribute them across Canada.
The plug-in trucks not only reduce fuel costs, but also provide electricity at remote locations, making them ideal for campers, catering companies, utilities and the military, said Lutz.
A crew-cab VIA pickup, with seating for up to six, costs about $65,000, and has an electric range of 40 miles. Even at $1.80 per gallon for gasoline, a company can cut monthly fuel costs by about $300 with electric-only driving, Lutz said.
Customers that need mobile power don’t have to haul a generator on a trailer, because VIA pickups have an array of 120- and 240-volt electrical outlets. VIA also offers an optional solar panel, mounted on the pickup bed cover, for recharging the batteries.
“We’re not trying to be Tesla,” Lutz said, “but these vehicles get over 100 miles per gallon and have lots of other advantages. They basically act like mobile generators.”