Founded by industry “favorite” Bob Lutz, electric truck-builder Via had big plans. Back in 2015, the company had plans to sell 50,000 new vehicles by 2018– which, I mean, just didn’t happen. As recently as August of last year, in fact, Via was still talking about putting an electric pick up on the road “within two years“. But, before you write Via off completely, consider the following: they just got a massive cash boost from Volvo’s parent company, Geely.
In the near term, Via will get access to Volvo’s advanced Drive-e engines and hybrid batteries, bringing their new trucks that much closer to series production. Geely and Volvo, in exchange, will gain access to Via’s real asset- its proprietary control software designed specifically for commercial vehicle use.
Which- I mean, I guess that’s something?
Geely seems to think it is, anyway. You can check out the official Geely/Via Motors press release, below, then let us know what you think of Lutz’ latest news (and Geely’s judgement) in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
22 January, 2018 – Orem, Utah — In line with Geely’s corporate global vision of producing the safest, most environmentally-friendly and most energy-efficient “New Energy Commercial Vehicles,” VIA Motors International, Inc., a leader of electric and hybrid drive systems offering a range of extended range (eREV) and EV commercial vehicles, today announces that it has completed an exclusive agreement with China based Zhejiang Geely New Energy Vehicle Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Commercial Vehicle Group.
The parties have agreed to co-develop a medium duty extended range electric truck, which incorporates VIA’s industry leading proprietary vehicle software and systems control technology, for launch in China and the Americas in 2019.
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,” continued Mr. Yu.
“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,” commented Peter Guile, CEO of VIA Motors. “We are excited to be working with our new global partners to electrify the future of the world’s working vehicles,” he continued.
“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, 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.” further commented Mr.Lutz.