Many airports require fuel-intensive vans to serve as shuttles for ferrying passengers between parking lots and areas of interest. The market is ripe for a fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid shuttle van, and VIA Motors is here with the answer.
Hybrid Cars reports that last Monday at the Edison Electric Institute Conference, VIA Motors introduced a plug-in hybrid passenger van that they say can do 100 miles of all-electric driving everyday, without any lengthy charging downtime. How? “Opportunity Charging” is the phrase VIA’s Chief Marketing Officer David West used, and it works.
While VIA’s shuttles are waiting to fill up with passengers during what would normally be considered “downtime”, they can be plugged into a charging station that keeps the van running, without consuming any gas. Then between dropping passengers off and picking up new ones, the VIA Motors van runs on pure electricity during these brief trips, keeping that extra money in the pockets of the transportation company.
Of course, VIA’s vehicles don’t come cheap, and the Chevy-based plug-in van will set buyers back a substantial $79,900, though upgraded seats do sweeten the deal a little bit. And in just a few years time, these essentially gas-free VIA vans could save tens of thousands of dollars in annual fuel costs. Worth it?