VIA Motors Celebrates Opening of “High Volume” EREV Assembly Facility in Mexico (w/video)


Via Motors Cuts Ribbon at Facility in Mexico

Via Motors Cuts Ribbon at Facility in Mexico

“Full Speed Ahead!”

VIA seems to be ready to produce thousands of its EREV pick-up, SUV and van variants in the coming months.  VIA has communicated this “high volume” message through many of its marketing channels over the last few weeks, although this optimism is sure to be tested by the seasoned auto manufacturers and upstarts that have preceded them. But look at this optimism, this time coming from Pablo Acedo, president of VIA Motors Latin America:

Via Motors VTRUX

Via Motors VTRUX

“VIA’s unique assembly system will be able to output two electric vehicles per hour and 10,000 vehicles per year.  We are proud to be first to deploy this innovative assembly technology here in Mexico, to transform conventional vehicles into advanced, extended range electric vehicles. San Luis Potosi will soon become synonymous with electric vehicles.”

It is safe to say that every manufacturer in the electric vehicle space has been showered with not only practical criticism, but also unforeseen, and sometimes insurmountable “speed bumps.”  We could describe these speed bumps here, but we’re sure that you, our readers, are well aware of the going ons of the industry.

The questions for VIA seem to be: Can VIA Motors be the first to coast through the ramp up process into their first full year relatively unscathed? We think so, but VIA needs to get its ducks in a row if that’s to happen. There is a bumpy road ahead for VIA and, as an automaker, it needs to clarify its offerings and educate the skeptics.

Here are some of the “speed bumps” we seen on the road ahead:

  • Lack of understanding of battery range and pack size.
  • Change the mindset from out-the-door cost to total operating cost over “x number of years” instead.
  • Tackle questions on charging, specifically length of time and electricity costs.
  • Long-term durability.
  • The huge financial hurdle (~230% increase in unit cost) large fleet operators face.

This should be easy, right?  Is it ever easy to become an automaker?

Sneak peek video inside manufacturing facility:

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10 Comments on "VIA Motors Celebrates Opening of “High Volume” EREV Assembly Facility in Mexico (w/video)"

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If VIA could just buy the gliders from GM, that may save them some $ and also make assembly quicker/easier. But I don’t know if they are using the existing ICE or swapping it out.

It’s cheaper for them to buy the whole truck/van/SUV. They considered the glider approach and rejected it.

It’s cheaper to declare bankruptcy now rather than drag it out with great expenditure. This is red state electric cars with all the contradictions that entails.

These vehicles are USA’s nitwitted wasteful mentality manifest and these are the ones you choose to electrify…
You might as well do a Hummer while you’re at it.

To be fair, VIA is not an “automaker” but rather an “upfitter”. They are buying what are called “gliders” from GM (trucks without powertrains, I assume so) and adding their own high voltage electronics, propulsion, etc.

VIA doesn’t have to do much at all with crash testing or many other regulations, since the vehicle is deemed essentially a modified GM product.

It’s all about the business case here. Can VIA convince corporate buyers to plunk down a huge premium for an electrified truck, in exchange for some green credits and fuel savings over the long term?

Given the failure of other players such as Azure (Ford upfitter) I would say it is dicey.

One thing people seem to not know, FEDEX, UPS, and Verizon have already evaluated these vehicles by participating in beta-testing them. Sales should be signicant as they’ve already evaluated them.

do we have the EPA sticker on this thing yet?
What does this pure serial power train get for MPG in ER mode?

If the cost savings are really there, it shouldn’t be hard to convince fleets. After all, most businesses opt to use laser printers instead of ink printers for a reason, despite the up-front cost.

I just wish they’d get their act together on their website. In fact I would have tried to buy equity in the company, but the poorly developed, and shoddy information on their website gave me the impression they were just all useless middle managers from GM who couldn’t care less about important details, and I didn’t want to take the chance.

Bill – I think that was smart. – GSP

Just checked the Web Site, it looks like it is being updated by the day… Now, both the Van and the pickup truck have the same power train.. Looks like they’ve standardized on at least this much:

1). 300 volt system (they apparently dtiched the 650 volt thing).

2). 4,8 litre v-8 in lieu of the 4.3 L V6.

3). 6.6 kw charging system (although some webpages say this is only “half the time” of 110 charging.

4). 24.4 kwh battery.

One ongoing problem is they claim 60 hz, 15 kw single phase at 30 amps (which means 500 volts on a 250 volt style outlet).

But at least they’re starting to make a little sense.