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Via’s new electric pickup with range extension will also include a rear step bumper.

Via’s new electric pickup with range extension will also include a rear step bumper.

Electric Drive, Rich Piellisch – August 5, 2013

Change in GM Platform Forced Delay in Planned Trucks But Plug-In Pickups Will Now Come with Smaller Engines

Via Motors is emphasizing vans instead of pickups for its mostly electric vehicles – because a change in GM’s pickup chassis has forced a major design update for the pickup product Via had intended to bring to market first.

“It put us back about 12 months,” says Via sales and business development VP Mark Burdge. “Luckily,” he says of the vehicle certification process, “we hadn’t crashed the truck yet.”

“We paused the project and waited patiently.

“GM has been great to work with,” he adds.

4.3-liter EcoTec3 V-6

“It’s for the better,” Burdge told F&F, because GM’s 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup is now available with the smaller and more efficient 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V-6.

For reasons of simplicity and economy, Via keeps the original engine for range extension when it installs its series hybrid electric drive allowing mostly battery operation. Now that engine will be a V-6 – a more modern, “much more fuel-efficient engine,” Burdge notes, rather than the previous year’s model’s smallest available V-8.

Other new features include rear step bumper, illuminated bed, aluminum hood, and electric power steering.

4×4 to Be First

Via vehicle batteries can charge from the grid, or from the engine. Power takeoff allows tools to be powered from the truck’s batteries, or from the idling engine.

Because of the pickup change, Via’s GM-platform vans will be the company’s first available vehicle. “The van is in final certification now for delivery this fall,” says Burdge.

The pickups, he says, will be available for delivery in the first quarter of 2014. The 4×4 crew cab will be the first for delivery, followed by the double cab, then the standard truck.

Read the article at Electric Drive