VIA's VTRUX was in Cupertino on Sunday for National Plugin Day, and event held in 65 cities across the U.S.. Pacific Gas and Electric, VIA's first fleet customer, attended with positive feedback on the VIA VTRUX. As an electric utility company, PG&E is particularly interested in the VTRUX ability to act as a backup power source during emergencies:
Gallery: VIA at National Plugin-Day in Cupertino
This ability to serve as a "mobile generator" makes the VTrux particularly valuable, said Dave Meisel, director of transportation services for PG&E. "VIA's new truck has the potential to radically transform the electric utility business," Meisel said. "Not only will it deliver fuel-cost savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, it could potentially alter the way we provide electricity to our customers." The first-generation trucks have 15-kilowatt capacity, roughly the equivalent of a generator for a small or medium house; that amount could increase in future models. Ultimately, the trucks could act as backup power sources to shorten planned or unplanned outages and boost the electric grid when needed. With a 402-horsepower electric motor and lithium-ion batteries, the vehicles have an electric range of up to 40 miles. Then, their gasoline engine allows them to travel 350 more miles. Each VIA truck could result in a savings of $2,700 a year in fuel costs for PG&E, Meisel said."Alysha Webb confirms PGE is looking far beyond powering remote sites and events; they're looking at the trucks as a backup power source for whole neighborhoods in an emergency:
PG&E is like a huge Petri dish for alternative fuel vehicles. It has 14,000 vehicles in its fleet, and is always looking for something new that provides more benefit than the tradition internal combustion engine. “We look at the technologies that are out there, and work with anybody that has technology they think is better,” said Meisel. Right now, Meisel is feeling good about Via Motors Inc. The Orem, Utah-based company installs electric drivetrains in existing vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, turning the vehicle into what Via calls an “EREV” or extended range electric vehicle. It can be recharged by plugging in, but the internal generator can also recharge the battery. Via hooks a generator up to the car’s engine and installs a 24-kWh liquid-cooled battery pack. The EREVs can run up to 40 miles on pure electricity. But the piece de resistance, at least for PG&E, is that a Via EREV can also serve as an external power source."-Plugin Cars An estimated 10,000+ prospective drivers were introduced to plug in electric vehicles over the weekend as the country celebrated the second annual National Plug In Day. Over 60 cities participated in the nation's largest ever grassroots celebration of the wide range of plug in electric vehicles now available across the United States. Since their introduction almost two years ago, the over 50,000 plug in vehicles sold have logged an estimated 200 million electric miles.National Plugin Day was celebrated in 65 cities. Since their introduction almost two years ago, plug in vehicles have traveled over 200 million miles - an historic achievement for American transportation. VIA sponsored National Plugin Day events in Cupertino and Salt Lake City.