VIA Motors Will Team With Geely For Medium-Duty Extended-Range Electric Truck

FEB 10 2018 BY MARK KANE 38

Front row: Gerald Page, Director Asia VIA. Peter Guile, CEO VIA, Nathan Yu, President Executive Advisor/VP ZGH, Chen Yiming, Int’l Legal Sr. Dir ZGH. Back row: Thierry Cassuat, CTO VIA. Dick Clayton, Exec VP VIA. Bob Purcell, COO VIA. Fiona Fei, Sr. Manager of Chairman Office ZGH. Li Hongyan VP of GCV Research Institute. Austin Hu, VP of GCV Research Institute. Song Guanghui, Dean Ass’t GCV Research Institute. Xi Na, Int’l Legal Supervisor ZGH. Steven Song, Int’l Business Sr Manager ZGH.

VIA Motors International announced a strategic partnership and joint venture with Chinese company Zhejiang Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicle Co.

VIA Motors

News comes years after silence on progress of VIA Motors range-extended vehicles built using GM models as a base for conversions.

The main idea for the JV – approved by Bob Lutz – is to co-develop a medium duty extended range electric truck for market launch in China, North America and Latin America.

The vehicles with VIA’s proprietary vehicle software and systems control technology, and Volvo’s engines, are to be on sale in 2019.

  • Joint Venture will launch a line of green logistics commercial vehicles for sale and distribution in North and Latin America.
  • VIA Motors will co-develop a green logistics medium duty truck for Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicles (“GCV”) in China under an exclusive arrangement which includes a technology transfer of VIA software and control systems.
  • As part of this arrangement VIA will be responsible for manufacturing, sales and distribution in North and Latin America.

It’s probably the right and only way for VIA Motors at this stage, as business all on its own didn’t make a splash.

We must note that the Zhejiang Geely Commercial Vehicle (GCV) is a subsidiary Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH), who also owns Geely Auto, Lynk & Co, Volvo Cars, Polestar, PROTON, Lotus, London Electric Vehicle Company, Yuan Cheng Auto, and Terrafugia.

VIA Motors

Here is how VIA Motors describes itself now:

“VIA Motors International, Inc. develops and markets extended-range electric (eREV) and all electric (EV) power-train systems, incorporating industry leading VIA developed vehicle software and control systems technology, which provides clean energy solutions for most vehicle classes from light duty through Class 8.

VIA’s vehicle integration capability, at both production facilities in Utah and Mexico, provides a range of commercial vehicles to meet zero emissions requirements. VIA vehicles are marketed under the VTRUX™ brand and under the VIA power-train systems V-Drive™ brand.”

Mr. Nathan Yu Ning, Zhejiang Geely Holding Vice President of International Business and Executive Advisor to the Board said:

“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.”

“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.”

Peter Guile, CEO of VIA Motors commented:

“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. We are excited to be working with our new global partners to electrify the future of the world’s working vehicles.”

Bob Lutz, Chairman of VIA Motors and former Vice-Chairman of GM commented:

“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. 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.”

Categories: Trucks, VIA Motors

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38 Comments on "VIA Motors Will Team With Geely For Medium-Duty Extended-Range Electric Truck"

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My guess, they plan to sell no more then 30,000, just like the Chevy Bolt.

So are you saying this is a compliance car for VIA to offset all of the ICE cars they don’t sell??

Did they crack 30,000 units?
Or, was the companies sole reason for existence to “prove” there was no market for hybrid trucks?

What was Bob Lutz doing there?
At the right price, these Trucks should Sell Themselves.
Why didn’t they sell, did Bob do anything at the company?
Did he attempt to lower costs?
I’d really like to know.

Via motors was a small company. They retrofit the PHEV drivetrain into existing GM trucks and SUVs. They were never going to quickly grow in size doing that. But I have no idea how many trucks they ever sold.

The company was probably formed with the expectation that they would be picked up by a larger automaker for their technology.

I personally think Lutz was expecting GM to buy them up years ago. That didn’t happen so another company swooped in.

And last prices I remember for this truck was a Lease Arrangement at something like $850/Month, with the Electricity cost of One Charge (40 Miles Range) per day included.

It was said to be able to ge someting like 40-50 miles per gallon, on extended driving trips, if I remember correct!

AFAIK, VIA sold zero cars on the open market; there hasn’t been a single actual road test/review of one of their trucks ever.
They probably provided a few fleet with a few trucks for a pilot program, but that’s it.
They never managed to get the money together for production… And they were years ahead of anyone else. They’ve obviously given up, and I don’t expect them to sell anything in the US. Converted US trucks would be too expensive for China, and likely incur heavy customs duty.
The main attraction in the US had been that body, chassis & non-drivetrain components were all standard Chevy, and they had an agreement with GM that Chevy dealers would service them. Not gonna happen with Chinese trucks.

Neither car is a “compliance car”. As you stated, VIA has no ICE sales that need to be offset by ZEV sales.

For 2018, about 45% of their ZEV credits must come from BEVs. For 2018, GM will only need to sell ~3,000 Bolt EVs in California. The rest of the ZEV credits can be Volt or other ZEV sales. (The exact numbers depend on GMs final sales tally for the year.)

And of course, GM already has over 100,000 ZEV credits from PHEV and BEVs. So really they don’t need to sell any EV this year if they don’t want to.

I think Inside EVs should write an in-depth article discussing this type of thing and really explaining CARB and ZEV credits. (There is a lot of misinformation out there from less reputable EV websites.)

Or, since GM has shown they CAN sell BEV’s in California, it is time to bump up the % of ZEV sales required, and push the Laggards!

Also, it is time to raise the PHEV – All Electric Range, to a Minimum of 40 Miles, for 2019, 50 Miles for 2021, and 60 miles for 2023! Beginning in 2025, no more ZEV Credits for PHEV’s, only for BEV’s!

At the Same Time, No BEV for 2019, with under 120 Miles Range Should Get the BEV Credits! For 2021, that should be 150 Miles Range, and for 2023, it should be 200 Miles Range to qualify! By 2025, no BEV below 250 Miles Range Should Get ZEV Credits!

The % of ZEV Credits should be adjusted, with a goal of 50% ZEV credits in/by 2025! Then, plan for 100% BEV sales by 2030!

Done! Catch up, America!

The amount of ZEV credits is based on the range of the vehicle. And the credit amount per vehicle drops over time. So shorter range BEVs (and PHEVs I believe) get less ZEV credits per car than they did a few years ago.

A long range EV like a Bolt or Model 3 is worth 3 credits in 2018, I believe. A short range EV is only ~1 credit – 1.5 credit depending on the range.

But I agree with you. Clearly the requirements could be raised even further.

Even if increasing the % doesn’t get the laggards producing them, GM, Tesla, Nissan and BMW would be incentivized to sell even more plug-ins. Because they would be able to sell more ZEV credits to the rest of the automakers.

Glad Bob Lutz approved it.

Funny, I can never tell from one of his comments to the next if he’s for or against EVs in general. I guess that’s how he thinks he can remain somehow relevant.

Bob *Who*??/s

I didn’t even realize this company was still in business. haven’t heard anything about them in ages. Have they even started manufacturing anything yet?

ever heard about Bob Lutz?
I thought you were a GM guy!

Of course I know who Bob Lutz is. But that doesn’t change the fact that I haven’t heard any news about VIA motors in years.

Wikipedia’s “Via Motors” article doesn’t have any references to any article about the company after 2012, and a Google search doesn’t indicate the company is has done anything worthy of note since then.

I’m not claiming this is evidence the company has been mothballed, but if they’re actually doing anything then they’re being very low-key about it.

I would expect this would/could be a huge success if they do it right. An extended range EV or serial hybrid could offer several battery capacities to address multiple price points. Battery modules would permit it to be upgradeable. Make it AWD and they should be able to sell as many as they can build if it is priced right.

So what will Workhorse do in this segment, now that Bob, along with Geely Holding, has popped back up?

I certainly can’t speak for Workhorse, but if I was a Workhorse exec then I would worry about competition if and when it actually appears, and not worry at all about competition from companies like Via Motors which, apparently, produce nothing but concept cars and vaporware.

I hope your right, and this latest VIA press release won’t actually materialize into any real competition for Workhorse and their real production PHEV truck launch.

Mr. Lutz won’t do anything but play golf, smoke cigars and pontificate about Tesla. Workhorse is Total Safe from Competition.

This was an obvious idea/plan as soon as the Prius started selling back in 2005. To bad Bob Putz had to delay it long enough to make it a moot point.

Exactly. Toyota’s hybrid concept is more than 20 years old now. And STILL No Hybrid Pickup offered, must less a plugin version.

You can only depend upon Tesla to actually produce something.


so Bob is selling out to the Chinese???

Kind of ironic.

Sadly, I’d like to see a list of any manufacturing companies that aren’t selling out to the Chinese right now. It’s all about China and only China.

The Chinese have played us and defeated us as the fools we are. With the massive deficit our government has incurred and is continuing to grow with this fabulous new tax cut, it’s only a matter of time before the Chinese will dictate the terms of our bailout just as Germany did to Greece recently. Imagine that, a foreign country telling us what we can and can’t do. Austerity measures are coming for us my friends and it’s going to be painful.

For now though, by all means rush to China and enriched them as fast as possible. They really need the money and we don’t. The best news is, we can get rid of more over paid American jobs!


“it’s only a matter of time before the Chinese will dictate the terms of our bailout just as Germany did to Greece recently.”

I believe it. The great party of “fiscal responsibility” (ha ha the Pubs) have struck again. Lower taxes and increase spending and worry about the consequences later. The same theory they use in global warming….kick the can down stream.

Things never change on the political front. Same BS decade after decade. The Dems are no better.

Even with what I said about BOB selling out to China, in a way, maybe it’s a good thing. I like the EREV truck concept and if this is what VIA has to do to make it happen then so be it.

Deficit bloating tax cuts for the rich so the GOP can get big checks from them. 83% of the tax breaks go to the 1%.

Did Chevy/GM agree to a no compete clause so Bob Lutz could make a few bucks on the side.

That would explain why there isn’t a REX Silverado yet.

Interesting JV; but, how successful will it be if Tesla announces a BET(Battery Electric Truck)? The article said 5-10 years of sales for a hybrid truck…wishful thinking,maybe?

One of the Usual Suspects commenting here at InsideEVs has repeatedly claimed that Via Motors never actually sold any of its conversion vehicles. I don’t know whether or not that is true, but in Googling the subject all I see is Via Motors claiming it’s going to sell them or that they are now being offered for sale… and no indication that they have ever actually sold any.

The EVs sold under the Geely badge were, so far as I know, all low-volume microcar productions, perhaps not much more than a cottage industry. But I see Geely now owns Volvo, so perhaps there is more potential there than I realized. On the other hand, partnering with Via Motors — which so far as I can see is just a wannabe conversion car startup with little or no sales — does not exactly inspire confidence in Geely’s ability to produce a highway-capable EV that will compete with EVs from Tesla, GM, and Nissan… or for that matter, even the Renault Twizy.

Volvo PHEVs sell quiet well in Europe. They have several models.

A Better Way to Go?

Watch CAR TOYS sue them for stealing their slogan!

I think ths was kind of a fire-sale. With all the recent announcements for BEV trucks (that followed the unveiling of the Tesla Semi), the potential market for a REX truck is in the process of vanishing. A REX truck will be more complex and expensive than an ICE truck (albeit with better performance and gas milage). It might even beat Diesel in TCO, if the manufacturers don’t get greedy and charge a premium for the “Greener aspect”, but it will not be able to compete with the superior TCO of a BEV truck.
Geely’s motivation for the deal is probably to create a bridgehead in the US, so that they can bring in their BEV’s with less trouble at a later point.

sounds more than spot on to me

A REX truck is just an Electric Truck with a gas tank and a generator engine to put power back into the battery. It’s very un-complex. And in Rural America, it’s needed.

GM always overprices their Electric Offerings.

Via is and tech will simply be taken in the same fashion that chinese gov did with transrapid, or sinovel from American superconductor, or chinese gov from GM.