VIA's eREV power-train technology would allow the majority of Verizon’s workers to drive day-to-day routes entirely on electric power.
At Indianapolis’ National Work Truck Show on Tuesday, VIA Motors and Verizon announced plans to collaborate on developing plug-in hybrid vehicles using VIA's patented eREV (extended range electric vehicle) technology. The resulting line of "electrified" pickup trucks and cargo vans will be considered for multilateral implementation in Verizon's fleet.
VIA's eREV power-train technology would allow the majority of Verizon’s workers to drive day-to-day routes entirely on electric power. With a maximum 40-mile all-electric range, the electrified work vehicles use advanced lithium ion batteries and can travel practically limitless distances with the VIA's onboard electric generator/range extender. In terms of charging, both can use standard 110-volt household outlets for approximately a dollar a day, with variance depending on local energy rates.
Under independently controlled conditions, VIA's eREV trucks have exhibited approximately 100 mpg. Based on this data, VIA estimates Verizon’s electrified fleet should improve the company’s fuel efficiency by a 300-percent increase and significantly reduce emissions.
According to Verizon's Chief Sustainability Officer, James Gowen, the eREV innovation is a “game-changing opportunity” for the company to take a leading role in cutting emissions and reducing maintenance costs. The company also plans on using the onboard generator for powering tools or even act as an auxiliary for Verizon's network under emergency conditions.
Why would this be significant? Verizon and many other telecomm, delivery and contracting companies often employ vast fleets of vans and trucks — thus, widespread electrification of vehicles such as these could hold global ramifications for eliminating emissions and reducing fossil-fuel consumption. Add to the equation that these vehicles routinely haul tons of equipment and cargo, and the potential savings associated to electrifying these vehicles are likely to skyrocket.
VIA Motors is a private EV development and manufacturing company, whose Board of Directors inlcudes legendary automotive icon and father of the Chevy Volt, Bob Lutz. The company has developed VIA V-Drive technology — a patented 650-volt eREV drive system for trucks and SUVs. Using an efficient second-stage process for integrating the eREV power train into new OEM vehicles, the company’s business plan revolves around selling the vehicles to fleets like Verizon using the VTRUX brand. While VIA plans to sell its VTRUX directly to fleets at first, it says these vehicles will likely become available to mainstream consumers at a later date. They have also stated intentions to re-purpose the technology to work with numerous other vehicle types, models and sizes, and estimate increasing annual production to 30,000 units over the next few years.
Image: Via Motors