Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Hybrid, Chevrolet, AutoblogGreen Exclusive, Plug In Conference
If you're a fleet manager who's been waiting anxiously for the chance to buy a plug-in hybrid van from Via Motors
, your wait is almost over. If you work for the right fleet, anyway.
David West, the chief marketing efficer for VIA Motors, took AutoblogGreen
for a ride around the San Jose Convention Center in a Via van sporting an Electric Blue paint job as part of the Plug In 2014 Conference
this week and gave us an update on how things are coming along. The big news is that the Via PHEV van production is going to start by the end of September. Via can currently build two vans an hour at its production plant in Mexico, or about 16 a day and could easily double that. "That would get us to 20,000 a year with two full lines running," West said. "We have the capacity."
"There is no way gas can compete with electric." - David West, Via Motors
But they can't sell that many quite yet. By the end of December, around 350 Vans will be made, mostly for a $20-million program
from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the South Coast Air Quality Management District that will see the vehicles used by fleets that will report energy data to the Idaho National Lab
. Via is also finishing up CARB certification for both the van and the company's plug-in hybrid pick-up truck. About 50 percent of Via's technology in the truck will not need to be tested again, since it's the same as what's in the van, but things like crash tests will need to be done twice.
Despite the progress, this is not where Via hoped it would be today. The bankruptcy of battery supplier A123
, "took about a year off our timeline," West said. "It's been getting a little slow getting it to market, there have been some challenges, particuarly since we had the country's worst recession right in the middle of this wrap up, but it's inevitable in my mind. There is no way gas can compete with electric."
Maybe that's why FedEx has expressed an interest in buying around 5,000 units, West said. FedEx already has some pilot vehicles, just like Verizon does, and PG&E wants to replace all of their gas trucks with electric vehicles, which would be another 3,000 sales, he said. Besides the fuel savings, vehicles like these, with easy on-site power generation
, could also work wonders in post-disaster situations, he said, since they could replace the need for generators.
Continue reading Plug In 2014: VIA makes the case for 'free' plug-in hybrid work vans, trucks
Plug In 2014: VIA makes the case for 'free' plug-in hybrid work vans, trucks originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink
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