Launch at North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Via Motors and launch partner Pacific Gas and Electric are showing “the utility industry’s first extended-range electric sport utility vehicles and cargo vans” at the North America International Auto Show in Detroit. Both offer PG&E the potential to provide mobile, on-site power to help manage electric outages and minimize disruptions for customers, states a joint release.
The new eREVs, for extended-range electric vehicles, can export 15 kilowatts of power, enough to serve the needs of a medium-sized house. A utility-grade output module, now in development, will provide 50 kilowatts of mobile emergency power to keep critical facilities online.
“Via’s new vehicles have the potential to transform the way we at PG&E manage electrical outages, and to help us provide safer, more reliable service for our customers,” PG&E senior VP Greg Pruett says in the NAIAS announcement. “We’re excited about our ongoing work with Via Motors as we develop new and innovative ways to green our utility fleet.”
As previewed last month, the new Via models include a luxury class four-wheel-drive SUV (suitable for executive transport), and a passenger van for ride-share and shuttle applications (F&F, December 21). All Via vehicles feature a 650-volt proprietary driveline called the “Via V-Drive.”
‘Good for Business, Good for the Environment’
“Via’s partnership with PG&E, and the introduction of the world’s first extended-range electric work trucks, SUVs, and cargo vans in their fleet, marks a turning point in the electrification of the industry’s fleets,” said Via spokesman and board member Bob Lutz, ex-GM vice chair. “As the world becomes more aware of the economic advantages of this ultra-clean technology, I am convinced that this type of electric vehicle will become very popular with consumers as well, and will help end our dependence on oil.
“It’s good for business, good for the environment and good for America.”
The eREV models can travel approximately 40 miles on battery electricity, Via says, then continue on power from an onboard gas-electric generator for 400 miles or more. “By driving primarily on electricity, the vehicles can more than double gas fuel economy and achieve zero emissions on 50% of the miles driven on typical fleet routes,” the firm says. “For electric utilities, the electrified vehicles can provide on-site power to help shorten small outages, eliminate some planned outages for maintenance, and boost the electric grid when needed.”
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Source: Via Motors and PG&E, Fleets & Fuels follow-up