Come Tuesday, January 10, 2012, former General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz will introduce two new extended-range electric vehicles… from by VIA Motors. Lutz divulges the upcoming announcement himself in this video:
“Hello, I’m Bob Lutz, and I’d like to welcome you to the North American Auto Show and a whole new era in Detroit, where the next-generation of extended-range electric trucks, vans, and SUVs will be introduced by VIA Motors. This will be an historic year for the industry and some say, a renaissance. While I was at GM, I championed the Chevy Volt. I honestly believe this was just about the most important car GM has built in its history. Today, I will introduce three new vehicles that expand my vision for extended range electric vehicles into the most popular market segments in America. I know you’re gonna like this, join me right here at the 2012 North American Auto Show and see what’s next.”
For the uninitiated, Lutz joined VIA Motors’ board of directors back in September 2011.
The GM Authority Take
For starters, it seems that VIA Motors is in the business of giving already-existing vehicles an extended-range electric powertrain. From the company’s website, it would seem that the powertrain works exactly like the Voltec unit found in the Chevrolet Volt: the vehicle is capable of being driven up to 40 miles on battery power and then continues on gasoline for up to 300 miles. Additionally, the vehicle can be charged using a standard (120 volt) outlet or a 240 volt unit.
As of this writing, the company is offering the VTRUX model on its website for pre-order. The VTRUXK seems to be a Chevy Silverado converted to use the eREV powertrain. It’s offered in Standard, Extended Cab, or Crew Cab configurations while a VIA insignia takes the place of the Chevy bow tie out front.
What’s more, the VTRUX is available in white, black, or red, has a $79,000 anticipated selling price, and offers a choice of extended range — 20 miles (340 mile extended range) or 40 miles (360 mile extended range). One can place a pre-order on the VIA Motors website with a $1,000 reservation.
Additionally, the VIA Motors website lists an SUV and Van as “Coming Soon”. The SUV looks to be a Chevy Tahoe while the Van is a Chevy Express. Both sport a VIA insignia in place of the Chevy logo up front. Could these be the “next-generation of extended-range electric vans and SUVs” Mr. Lutz will unveil at Detroit come Tuesday? We think so, especially given the fact that Maximum Box promises the vehicles will expand his vision “into the most popular market segments in America.” Trucks and SUVs is where the market is at, ladies and gents.
That said, we wonder what VIA’s long-term strategy involves… since it’s only a matter of time before the big roaring giant that is General Motors wakes up and begins offering extended-range electric powertrains across its entire lineup, including trucks, SUVs, vans, coupes, and everything in-between. And at that point, it’s game over for VIA. Or are we mistaken?
Hat tip to lt1george