Photo courtesy of VIA Motors.

Photo courtesy of VIA Motors.

VIA Motors has begun producing all-electric conversions of full-size OEM pickup trucks and vans, the Utah-based company announced at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

VIA will begin producing two electric versions of the Chevrolet Express passenger van before the end of the year and ramp up production of other vehicles in 2014. VIA will offer a three-quarter-ton cargo van and passenger van, company executives said.

In addition to the van, the company will produce a 4WD half-ton pickup truck based on the Chevy Silverado crew cab. and a three quarter ton cargo van, and passenger van based on the Chevy Express.

VIA uses a streamlined second-stage manufacturing process to integrate its proprietary V-DRIVE power train into new OEM vehicles, then sells directly to fleets under the VTRUX brand name. The vehicles deliver up to 40-mile battery range and unlimited extended range. They average more than 100 mpg in typical daily driving, according to the company.

The vehicles will be manufactured at a facility in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, that's near General Motors' Silao plant where the Chevrolet Silverado is assembled.

Photo courtesy of VIA Motors.

Photo courtesy of VIA Motors.

"VIA's unique approach in working hand-in-hand with OEMs like General Motors to transform conventional full-size vehicles into extended range electric vehicles will make electric power-train options more practical and available to a broader market," said Bob Lutz, VIA's chairman and the former GM vice chairman who pushed production of the Chevrolet Volt. Alan Perriton, a longtime GM associate, has taken over as president of VIA.

The company has signed a $20 million contract to produce vans and pickups for more than 50 fleets. The contract was administered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District with the Electric Power Research Institute acting as project manager. The California Energy Commission is also participating the program.

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to publish the data for use by government agencies, participating fleets, and the general public to use to help quantify the benefits of operating plug-in electric vehicles.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet