ELECTRIFIED: Trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles are starting to appear with electric motors.
Image: Flickr/ajmexico

Large Vehicles Begin Shift to Electric Drive

Electric motors are not just for cars anymore but now appear in trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles

By Julia Pyper and ClimateWire

Passenger cars have been generating much of the buzz around electrified transportation, but automakers are changing that with a suite of new electrified trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles that could soon hit the market.

“Whether it’s an advanced drive vehicle of any sort — a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or an electric vehicle (EV) — the manufacturers are taking it seriously, and they understand it as a growing market,” said Jeremy Acevedo, analyst at the automotive research website Edmunds.com. “I think it’s something that’s easy for consumers to get behind when they see their brand throwing out legitimate offerings into that segment,” he said.

Automakers both big and small delivered last week at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit with the launch of several electrified products on larger platforms.

Via Motors, a company backed by former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, unveiled four extended-range electric work vehicles at NAIAS that it says can get more than 100 mpg in regular driving conditions. Like GM’s Chevrolet Volt, Via’s lineup of plug-in vehicles can travel about 40 miles in all-electric mode before switching to a hybrid setting, which improves fuel economy by 2 to 4 mpg over a gasoline alternative.

In Detroit, Via Motors launched a first-of-its-kind luxury SUV, cargo and passenger vans, and a high-performance pickup truck. The new XTRUX pickup features 4-wheel drive, immense torque and up to 800 horsepower, “and yet it has the fuel economy that makes a Prius look like a gas guzzler,” said Lutz in a promotional video.

Read more: Large Vehicles Begin Shift to Electric Drive: Scientific American.

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