VIA Motors Chairman and former GM Vice President Bob Lutz said he expects to sell 50,000 plug-in hybrid pickups annually by 2018. Much like the Chevrolet Volt, the company’s vehicles use a gasoline-powered generator that can extend driving range by providing electricity to the battery pack.
VIA currently purchases Chevrolet Silverado pickups from GM and installs a pair of electric motors and a lithium-ion battery. With a full charge, the system can propel the vehicles for 64 kilometres on electric power alone -- and 640 kilometres in hybrid mode. The 4.3L V6 gasoline engine powers a generator that, in turn, recharges the battery.
Canada's Sun Country Highway Ltd., based in Saskatchewan, has already agreed to buy 1,000 pickups and delivery vans from VIA and will distribute them across the Great White North. This complements its wide network of charging stations from coast to coast including at Best Western hotels.