Bob Lutz joins electric truck maker Via Motors

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 26, 2011

Bob Lutz, considered as the father of the Chevrolet Volt, is joining EV maker VIA Motors. His move to VIA Motors is regarded as part of the company’s commitment to extended range electric vehicles, as well as one of the means to spark greater cooperation between emerging technology firms and large OEMs. Lutz remarked that he sees the Volt as the most important car he had created during his long career.

He quipped that his decision to join VIA Motors was prompted by the desire to expand the vision of extended range electric vehicles as well as to help create the next generation of trucks, vans and SUVs powered by electricity. Lutz remarked that VIA Motors’ extended range electric trucks would be a game changer, providing the drive for a standard for clean, high performance, utility vehicles. He noted that light duty trucks have been dominating the auto market in the United States, with the pick-up truck lording over other vehicles in the past 20 years.

He called pick-up trucks as “the work horse of America,” enjoying consistent strong sales as they have been preferred by both commercial fleets and retail customers. He added that government fleets are required to switch from gasoline to a cleaner alternative fuel like electricity.

VIA Motors’ Kraig Higginson welcomed Lutz to the company. Higginson quipped that the company offers trucks that aren’t more expensive to own and operate than gas trucks and are able to deliver full performance with near zero emissions. He added that these trucks will get less expensive to operate as battery prices go down and as gas prices go up. While light duty trucks and SUVs make up for around half of overall vehicles sales, they account for the majority of oil consumption and emissions.

Alan Perriton, Chief Operations Officer for VIA Motors, remarked that while trucks are known for their poor fuel economy, their electrified versions consume less oil and emit lower carbon dioxide than smaller vehicles, while offering a faster payback. He added that an electrified truck is equivalent to two small cars taken off the road.

Press Release

Former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz Joins Via Motors To Build Next Generation Electric Trucks, Vans & SUVs

Today, Bob Lutz, an icon of the automotive industry, and father of the Chevrolet Volt, announced he is joining VIA Motors, an electric vehicle company well positioned to build the next generation of electrified trucks, vans and SUVs.

“In my long career working with GM, Ford, Chrysler and BMW, I considered the Chevy Volt the most important car we had yet made. I am now pleased to join VIA Motors to expand the vision of extended range electric vehicles and help build the next generation of electrified trucks, vans and SUVs. I believe VIA’s extended range electric trucks will be a game changer, and drive the standard for clean, high performance, utility vehicles around the world.” Mr. Lutz also noted that light duty trucks are the top selling vehicles in America, with the pick-up truck remaining the number one selling vehicle twenty years-running.

Pick-up trucks are “the work horse of America” noted Mr. Lutz, and enjoy consistent robust sales because they are preferred by commercial fleets and consumers alike, from the heartland to the largest fleets in the country, including military and government. In addition, government fleets are now mandated to switch from petroleum to a cleaner and preferably domestic alternative fuel, such as electricity.

“We are excited to have Mr. Lutz joining the VIA team,” said Kraig Higginson of VIA. “VIA can deliver trucks to the market today that cost no more to own and operate than gas trucks, but deliver electric full performance with near zero emissions and will continue to be even less expensive to operate as battery prices come down and gas prices continue to rise,” added Higginson.

Light duty trucks and SUVs make up about half of all vehicles sold, yet account for a majority of emissions and oil consumption. “Trucks have been notorious for poor fuel economy in the past, but when electrified, they can have a much greater impact on reducing oil consumption and emissions than smaller vehicles, while offering a much faster payback,” said Alan Perriton, Chief Operations Officer for VIA Motors, and himself a former senior executive at General Motors. “Electrifying one truck is like taking two small cars off the road,” added Perriton.

The move to VIA Motors by Mr. Lutz is seen as a continued commitment to extended range electric vehicles, and as a way to foster greater cooperation between large OEMs and emerging technology companies.

About Bob Lutz

Mr. Lutz’ automotive career spans from 1963 to the present, and includes senior leadership positions at GM, Ford, Chrysler and BMW. Most recently, Mr. Lutz was Vice Chairman and Special Advisor, Design and Global Product Development for GM, retiring in 2010. From 1971 to 1974, Mr. Lutz served as Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing for BMW. He held various senior executive positions with Ford Motor Company from 1974 to 1986, including serving as Chairman of Ford of Europe, Executive Vice President of Ford International Operations, Executive Vice President of Truck Operations, and a member of the Ford Board of Directors. Mr. Lutz was with Chrysler from 1986 to 1998, including serving as President and Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for Chrysler’s car and truck operations worldwide, and served as a member of Chrysler’s Board of Directors. Mr. Lutz has been the driving force behind many vehicle advancements in his career, including, most recently, the extended range Chevrolet Volt introduced by GM in 2010.

About VIA Motors

VIA Motors is a privately held electric vehicle development and manufacturing company. VIA developed a proprietary 650-volt drive system technology designed for full size trucks called VIA V-Drive™. In 2008, VIA engineers, working in cooperation with General Motors, demonstrated their technology in an extended range electric Hummer H3 that delivered over 100 mpg. VIA employs a streamlined second stage manufacturing process leveraging expert and well-established suppliers and world-class automotive engineering companies to integrate its proprietary EREV powertrain into new OEM vehicles it calls VTRUX™. VIA VTRUX have a 40-mile EV range and up to 400-mile extended range, averaging over 100 mpg. VIA plans to sell to fleets for the first two years, then later to consumers. More information on VIA Motors may be found at: http://www.viamotors.com.

Topics: united states

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