VIA Motors partners with Chinese OEM to build medium-duty extended range electric trucks

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Updated Jan 24, 2018

VIA Motors has partnered with China-based OEM Zhejiang Geely to produce medium-duty, extended range electric trucks.

The trucks, which will be developed and produced in China, will be sold and distributed in China, North America and South America.

“Geely is the ideal strategic partner for VIA Motors, as the fastest growing global vehicle company, with a demonstrated commitment to the electrification of their portfolio of award winning vehicles,” commented Bob Lutz, founder and chairman of VIA Motors and former vice-chairman of GM. “The alliance between Geely and VIA Motors combines technology, access to their industry leading suppliers, and a mutual entrepreneurial spirit dedicated to accelerating the global adoption of extended range electric commercial vehicles.”

It was VIA Motors’ technology that attracted Zhejian Geely, a growing OEM with several international brands to its name, including Geely Auto, Lynk & Co, Volvo Cars, Polestar, PROTON, Lotus, London Electric Vehicle Company, Yuan Cheng Auto and Terrafugia.

“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,” Yu Ning continued. “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.”

VIA CEO Peter Guile said the partnership with Geely fits well with their plans for an expanded vehicle lineup.

“VIA Motors is honored to partner with Geely Commercial Vehicles. This agreement allows VIA to execute our strategy with the launch of an expanded portfolio of advanced drive systems and vehicles,” Guile said. “We are excited to be working with our new global partners to electrify the future of the world’s working vehicles.”

At this point, there’s no word when VIA Motor’s extended range electric pickup, or VTRUX, will be making a comeback, if at all. An announcement posted on their website states:

“GM made a determination to remove the 6-cylinder based pickup from their product line-up in favor of the 8-cylinder version. Since all our development and certification work was based on the 6-cylinder version, we temporarily are no longer able to offer production of our extended range electric truck. We expect to shortly announce replacement platforms that best fit our technology.”​

VIA Motors was not available for further comment on a possible return of VTRUX. Also, it’s unclear on the type of applications the two companies have in mind for their medium-duty truck which is expected to roll out in 2019. To date, VIA Motors has dealt only with fleets.