I’ve said it before: there’s an entire, enormous world the consumer on the street doesn’t see. Except this time, it’s still on the street.
Via Motors sells electrified vehicles, just not to you. Via takes truck and van chassis, and finishes them out (“coachbuilding”) as plug-in hybrids with a Volt-like drivetrain. (Founder Bob Lutz came from GM, and no surprise, uses GM platforms.) The resulting vehicles are not merely saving gas; they are now huge, self-propelled generators. The company, then, predicted their killer app would be selling work trucks to utilities.
They seem to be on to something. Via has a functional factory, and announced their latest big score: approximately $100 million from Canadian buyers. Sun Country Highway has electrified the Transcontinental Highway, primarily through EVSEs at Best Western hotels. Sun Country Highway and Best Western are now starting with their first $10 million in Via vehicles, as shuttle vans for the hotels. Charging will be at SCH charge points, which will save the hotel chain money, and then be available for guest vehicles.
Note that the charging will typically be on hydropower; Canada has so much hydro that they export to us when we need it. Yet another blow for the “electric cars just shift the pollution” liars. Not that it matters, anyway: Bob Lutz is a global warming denier. But the advantages of electric drive (in some form or another) are so clear to the industry that Lutz, among others, considers electrification inevitable. Diversified energy supply? Check. Friction and other drivetrain losses reduced to rounding errors? Check. Instant torque, without shifting? Checkmate.
Other organizations with fleets have already experimented with using their trucks as generators, feeding back to the grid in emergencies. Nissan expressly sells home interface units for EV owners in the Japanese market; some were ready after the big earthquake and tsunami. Heck, I know people who have rigged their electric vehicles as emergency “generators.” These friends of mine get it, and businesses got it too. When will the buying public at large get it?
Oh, right… when the public gets TCO.