Posted Jul 17th 2012 9:15AM
Bob Lutz recently stopped by to see Jay Leno at the comedian's Big Dog Garage, and the legendary auto executive has brought along his latest project, an extended-range VTrux electric pickup by Via Motors. The creation combines a 4.3-litre V6 with an electric motor to offer around 130 km (50 miles) of all-electric driving and a full range of 482 km (300 miles). When connected to a 220-volt outlet, the truck takes just four hours to fully charge. What's more, Lutz says Via Motors can install the same driveline in full-size General Motors vans as well as models like the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and, of course, the Cadillac Escalade.
Leno seems pretty taken with the final product, saying he can't tell a difference between the VTrux plug-in hybrid and a standard Silverado pickup, save for its quiet operation. Just like in the Chevrolet Volt, once the batteries go dead, the V6 under the hood takes over to turn a generator to provide power to charge the batteries of the electric motor once again. It sounds like a pretty neat setup, though there's always the looming question of cost – Via Motors estimates the price of a Silverado-based VTRUX at US$79,000 – when built "in volume."
Click here to check out the full episode of Jay Leno's Garage featuring Bob Lutz below.