Via Motors, Verizon announce electric van initiative

Verizon and VIA Motors announced at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis that the two companies will collaborate on a project to prove the viability of a plug-in electric ¾-ton delivery van. VIA uses a GM cargo van as a base vehicle but installs its own proprietary eRev (extended range vehicle) technology. Kraig Higginson, VIA chief executive officer, says this allows the van to achieve more than 100 mpg, which has been verified in independent fleet tests.

The van uses VIA technology to drive the majority of its daily work route entirely on electric power. Should the van exceed useful battery range, it can run unlimited miles using VIA’s onboard electric generator or “range extender.” The van can be charged from a typical 110V household outlet and can serve as a rolling generator to supply electric power to run tools and other accessories in the field.

Verizon has acquired two of the VIA vans for evaluation testing and expects the vehicles to become a component of its yearly vehicle replacement cycle next year. VIA says the vans retail for $79,000 but says that fleets will see an immediate net cash return due to high fuel economy returns – up to a 300 percent improvement in Verizon’s case.