Geely Invests in Bob Lutz’s VIA Motors and its Electric Truck Technology
Remember Bob Lutz? He’s been almost everywhere in the auto industry, spending time at BMW, Ford, and most notably, General Motors, where he spent from 2001 to 2010 in high-end management. Unfortunately for Lutz (or maybe because of), those were some tumultuous times at the General. Now post “retirement,” he’s been creating his own ventures with VLF Automotive and VIA Motors. With the latter, Lutz is acting as the chairman and helps guide the company in its mission of turning stock light- and heavy-duty vehicles into range-extended and all-electric vehicles.
As it turns out, Lutz and VIA made an impression on Geely, the Chinese automaker responsible for Volvo’s illustrious rebound into the luxury market.
Geely and VIA have agreed to co-develop a medium-duty extended range truck by using VIA’s “industry-leading proprietary vehicle software and systems control technology” while Geely offers up its Drive-e hybrid powertrain technology already in use within Volvo. The companies ambitiously suggest the range-extended truck would be available by 2019 in the U.S., Latin America, and China.
Nathan Yu Ning, Geely’s vice president of international business and executive advisor to the board, said in a company statement, “I believe that range-extended hybrid drive systems are a leading technology for the next 5-10 years and the co-developed truck will utilize proven technology such as a Volvo engine for the range extender.”
The immediate goal is for VIA to provide Geely with technological and engineering support in order to push the automaker into becoming a leader in range-extended vehicles by putting Geely trucks on North and South American roads.
So, if all goes according to plan, Americans might have an electric medium-duty commercial vehicle with a Geely, VIA, or even Volvo badge roaming around.