Will the next pickup truck you buy be a Geely?
Industry veteran Bob Lutz has been making headlines lately for his pessimistic outlook, having declared that the auto industry will be dead in 20 years and Tesla will be out of business by 2019. The former General Motors executive is also the Chairman of VIA Motors, a company that buys and sells extended-range electric and all-electric powertrains for commercial vehicles ranging from light-duty trucks to semis. If electric cars are going to have any mass market success in America, it's inevitable that all-electric pickup trucks will be part of the plan.
Via wants to be one of the first companies to bring an all-electric pickup to the market. Last year, the company outlined plans to make that a reality within two years. This seemed like an ambitious goal considering the company failed to meet its sales target of 50,000 new vehicles by 2018, but Via has now been given a significant cash injection by Volvo's parent company Geely that will enable both companies to co-develop and launch an all-electric medium duty pickup truck as early as 2019 in the US and China. This means Via will get access to Volvo's advanced Drive-e engines and hybrid batteries.
Geely and Volvo, on the other hand, will gain access to Via's "industry leading" proprietary vehicle software and systems control technology. "Geely selected VIA Motors due to the company's advanced commercial vehicle software and control systems technology, specifically developed to meet the demanding duty cycle and performance requirements of commercial vehicles," said Nathan Yu Ning, Zhejiang Geely Holding Vice President of International Business and Executive Advisor to the Board. "I believe that range extended hybrid drive systems are a leading technology for the next 5-10 years and the co-developed truck will utilize proven technology such as a Volvo engine for the range extender."
VIA Motors provides technology plus an engineering and management team that can support GCV to accelerate to be global leading commercial vehicle company and assist the introduction of GCV Trucks into North and Latin America through our newly formed joint venture."