Efficiency has always been a struggle with trucks. The EPA has industry-wide expectations for fuel economy but work crews require large, heavy, durable vehicles. How does on rectify these two prevailing trends? Via Trucks builds electric work vehicles to help answer the call– and has announced a new solar panel system that also acts as a bed cover.
Via Trucks is still in its infancy. It started with help from former GM executive Bob Lutz, and it’s already making waves. The company’s business plan calls for converting trucks, vans and SUVs into plug-in hybrids– based on existing Chevrolet work vehicles.
At the 2013 Los Angeles International Auto Show, Via Trucks announced a fascinating new feature– a photovoltaic bed cover that can boost the range and efficiency of their vehicles. A spokesperson from Via told AutoblogGreen that the solar bed cover was created in an effort to take advantage of every available bit of real estate on the full-size pickup.
The panel can help charge the battery directly or can be used to charge power tools. Two panels are available– a 400-watt setup that can add up to six miles of electric driving, or an 800-watt model that can boost range by as much as ten miles. The panels are also said to be durable and meant to take the abuse of a typical work truck.
Pricing for the VTrux hybrid pickup is said to be under $80,000 and will go on sale in spring of next year. Though no plans have been announced to offer this on the aftermarket, it would be curious to consider the viability of such a feature on conventional pickups.
- Nature & Environment