“This is a historic moment for America,” said Via Motors CEO Kraig Higginson as he proclaimed in Indianapolis that fleets across the country have committed to take delivery of 20,000 of his new electric vans next year.
Via is working with Verizon to develop and demonstrate plug-in cargo vans that will save fleets millions of dollars a month in fuel costs. They will have an all-electric range of up to 40 miles, with extended range from what will initially be the standard internal combustion engine used as an onboard generator.
They can be charged from a typical 110v household outlet for as little as $1 a day in some states, and have already demonstrated economy equivalent to 100 mpg.
The first of Via’s General Motors-based vans will be delivered in August, with output pegged at 2,700 this year, Higginson said.
Verizon will initially take two for evaluation next month, and another 50 fleets cross the country will test them late this summer.
At a list price of $79,000, Higginson said that on a lease basis the three-quarter ton van would cost the same or less than a conventional van on lease-plus-fuel, meaning that the electric van could be cash-positive from its first month in fleet service. Via Motors has developed its proprietary eRev drive system (its 402 hp electric motor weighs just 100 lb) on a GM pickup truck, and tested it with PG&E.
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