VIA Motors unveiled what the company is touting as the world’s first extended-range, electric hybrid pickup at the North American International Auto Show.
As reported by the Detroit Free Press, the pickup has a 4.3-liter V6 combustion engine, which is used only when the batteries need charging, coupled with a 150-kilowatt electric generator, according to the company. The line of vehicles, called eREV, also boasts a 402-horsepower electric motor and a 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which provides up to a 40-mile range.
“This is the revolution. We call it the eRevolution,” said Bob Lutz, a member of VIA Motors’ board and the former General Motors vice chairman who has been dubbed the father of the extended-range Chevy Volt.
He explained that it makes sense for the electric sector to focus on the most-popular type of vehicle and the one that uses the most energy.
“Once you electrify, you will never go back,” Lutz said.
The vehicle also can be used as a power source, be it for a hair dryer on a camping trip, arc welding at a job site or helping out at a customer’s house during a power outage, according to Alan Perriton, VIA Motors’ chief operating officer and a former GM senior executive, who demonstrated how light the 108-pound engine was by lifting it.
VIA Motors also makes extended-range SUVs and vans.
The base price for the pickup is $57,000, according to company spokesman David West, who added that six have been sold, all to Pacific Gas & Electric.
2012 is “the year we say goodbye to our addiction to oil,” intoned the VIA Motors promo video that kicked off the company’s NAIAS news conference.