Bob Lutz will help the privately held startup raise money and create partnerships with automakers, David West, VIA chief marketing officer, said in an interview. His role at GM won’t change because of the move, a GM spokesman said.
VIA and GM have an existing agreement, where VIA outfits full-sized pickups with an extended-range electric powertrain that it developed, said West. This fall, it plans to test about 35 of the vehicles with fleet customers, mostly large utilities.
VIA, which has developed a proprietary 650-volt drive system technology designed for full-size trucks called VIA V-Drive, expects to begin delivery on its extended-range trucks in 2013.
“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.