Orem-based VIA Motors, which develops and manufacturers electric motor trains for fleet vehicles, announced it has secured a $20 million contract to build and deliver electric pickup trucks and vans to fleets in California.
The company will install its proprietary technology into each vehicle and will record and transmit data from them to the Deppartment of Energy to analyze the benefits of electric vehicles on emissions.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is administering the contract, and the California Energy Commission also is participating in the project. SCAQMD is the air-pollution-control agency for Orange County as well as areas of Los Angeles and San Bernardino.
"The pick-up truck is the No. 1-selling vehicle in America, and VIA Motors is the only automaker building electric light-duty pick-up trucks, cargo vans and passenger vans," VIA Motors president Alan Perriton said in a statement. "The all-in cost is actually lower than driving a gas truck; this is very welcome news to budget-constrained fleets who spend more and more each year on ever-increasing gas prices, who can now save money and reduce their fleet emissions."
The trucks and vans that the privately-held VIA Motors outfit run the first 40 miles on electrical power but can go up to 400 miles on a single fill up. The vehicle also uses a range extender that recharges the battery during longer trips.
Electric cars get a jump from Public Service Commission
The Public Service Commission has ruled that electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, which are used to recharge electric cars, are not considered a resale of electricity, opening the door for more of these stations to be built in Utah.
The order will "help open the market for additional EV charging stations in Utah, providing EV drivers the confidence to take longer trips and giving consumers the confidence to purchase EVs," Samantha Mary Julian, director of Office of Energy Development (OED), said in a statement. The state agency promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The commission agreed that refilling an electric vehicle at a charging station does not constitute a resale of electricity but instead is similar to other services where the customer pays for the service and not just the electricity, even though electricity is exchanged in the transaction.
In Utah, electric vehicles can produce less than half of the annual emissions of that of gas-powered vehicles, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy.