VIA Motors showcased the production-ready version of its extended-range electric vehicle (eREV) pickup truck today in downtown San Francisco, delivering a pair of the vehicles to California utility company Pacific Gas and Electric for testing as part of its work vehicle fleet.
Plug it in
Located behind the VIA badge in the eREV's grille is a SAE J1772 standard vehicle charging port.
The eREV is based on Chevrolet's Silverado. Via chose to leave the 4.3 liter V-6 engine in place. However, much like the Chevrolet Volt, the gasoline engine only fires up to extend the truck's range after the battery pack's 40-mile (more or less) range is depleted.
The VIA eREV's 15-kilowatt battery pack can be charged using a fast charging station, by plugging into a standard 110-volt or 220-volt outlet, via the regenerative braking system, or with the truck's gasoline engine.
VIA Motors' proprietary 650-volt eREV system was designed to be modular, which means that the technology can be applied to a wide range of full-size trucks, vans, and SUVs beyond the PG&E trial.
A generator on wheels
An interesting bonus to toting around 15 kilowatts of electricity in its battery pack is that that the VIA Motors eREV can potentially supply enough on-site power for a small- to medium-size house. Armed with this technology, PG&E technicians can power their tools with the vehicle or, in the future, eliminate planned power outages for maintenance.
Fleet vehicle cabin
The two eREV pickups delivered to PG&E today are, at their most basic, fleet vehicles. So don't expect much tech to make its way into the spartan cabin.
VIA eREV cargo van
VIA did showcase an electrified cargo van that featured a slightly more high-tech cabin treatment.
Integrated into the van's dashboard was an Apple iPad running proprietary fleet and vehicle management software. Eventually, VIA would like to offer this to its clientele.
Using the iPad's interface, drivers and dispatchers are able to monitor how efficiently the vehicle is being driven.
Energy usage screen
Historical fuel economy, time spent in full electric mode, and operating cost savings to the company can also be viewed.
Navigation, weather forecasts, traffic, and trip planning are all built into the interface to help operators get to the work sites.
Finally, Web-connected software puts the driver in contact with the dispatcher for more efficient fleet management.
The eREV pickup that was delivered to PG&E features a much more basic version of this interface that only really gives access to power-train information. If you're not a VIA engineer, most of this will likely look like gibberish.