‘The Facility Is Capable of 20,000 Vehicles Per Year’
Via Motors is to announce Tuesday that it has established an assembly center for its plug-in hybrid electric trucks and vans with Concorde Manufacturing in Auburn Hills, Mich. Production is to get underway in earnest in the first quarter of 2013.
“Our capacity here at Auburn Hills is one vehicle every 30 minutes which translates, per line, into 275 trucks per month, 3,300 annually,” production manager Ray Hill says in a Via video.
“The facility is capable of making a total of 20,000 vehicles per year using the six lines,” he says.
Via is converting Chevrolet pickup trucks and vans to series plug-in hybrid electric vehicle operation by installing 24-kilowatt-hour liquid-cooled lithium ion battery packs, a proprietary inverter and 300-kilowatt (402 horsepower) HVH motors and 150-kilowatt VR150 generators by Remy, collectively making up a 650-volt series powertrain.
The trucks’ original 4.3-liter V-6 gasoline engines are retained.
All-electric range is about 40 miles, and the battery charges while the truck operates on gasoline power.
Pacific Gas & Electric, which has three pre-production Via trucks and is getting five more, is a key launch customer.
PG&E has termed the Via trucks, which can operate solely on electricity yet be available for any long-distance mission –and have power takeoff — a game-changing technology for fleets (F&F, March 26).
“Via’s new truck has the potential to radically transform the electric utility business,” PG&E transportation director Dave Meisel said in a release following San Francisco Bay Area plug-in events yesterday. “Not only will it deliver fuel-cost savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, it could potentially alter the way we provide electricity to our customers.”
And, Meisel said, “Each VIA truck could result in a savings of $2,700 a year in fuel costs for PG&E.” PG&E operates approximately 3,500 vehicles in the Via’s class.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels interviews and research