close
close

Latest Post

CFL games this week: Schedule, TV coverage, live streams, start times for 2024 Canadian football games New method for detecting beetle-infested spruce trees can help forest and wildfire managers

Bob Lutz is undoubtedly a pioneer in the automotive world, but sometimes even the big guys are wrong. Sometimes they are so wrong that the product they develop completely irrelevant and will be forgotten through the annals of time. Take the Via Motors VTrux. Do you remember the VTrux? Me neither, but Big Bob was behind it over a decade ago and thanks to YouTuber and friend of the show Aging Wheelswe can take a closer look at what this foreign truck is all about.

What we have here with the VTrux is actually something a little ahead of its time, as it is a plug-in hybrid pickup truck that was released back in 2011. That is over a decade before vehicles like this hit the mass market. Damn, Chevy released an electric Silverado just a few months ago. Basically what Via and Lutz I took a Chevy in original condition Silverado, Express or On siterip out all the mechanical innards and put a series hybrid system in. Sure, it sounds good on paper, but they never really caught on due to high prices and lackluster performance. I understand the vision, but the technology just wasn’t there in 2011.

Robert Dunn from Aging Wheels ended up at the VTrux after a viewer asked him to help him repair his dilapidated truck, even though it had relatively few kilometers on the clock and was not very old. After just a few years, the VTrux could no longer fulfill Via’s promises.

The VTRUX is a disappointing electric truck from ten years ago

Dunn goes into quite a deep explanation how Via transforms a regular Silverado into a VTrux. Basically, the company bought a thousand-ton Base Silverados with the 4.3-liter Vortec V6 that makes 297 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. Via then removed the transmission and replaced it with a 201 hp electric generator and an electric motor that makes 254 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque. Via then bolted a cleverly packaged 24 kWh battery behind these components. All in all, this setup is somehow less powerful than the 4.3-liter V6 alone. That’s an impressive feat. Via claimed the truck could go from 0 to 60 in 9.7 seconds, but that never actually happened. A few years later, the truck is even slower.

Dunn goes on to explain how it works. Essentially, the V6 acted as a a gas generatorwhich powered the electrical generator behind it. This electrical generator then powered the batteries and supplied power to the 120-volt and 140-volt outlets in the back. The above-mentioned Electric motor – where the transmission used to be – connected to the transfer case, which turns the driveshaft into a differential and eventually reaches the wheels. While it was nice, it wasn’t exactly an efficient design. There’s a reason why car manufacturers try to put the electric motors as close to the drive wheels as possible.

All this shoddy electrical goodness was not cheap. First you had to get a 2014 Silverado WT that cost over $50,000 today. Then add all the VTrux parts and you suddenly have a 2014 Silverado that costs $76,000 – today almost $101,000. DAMNED.

This whole setup was originally advertised as having 40 miles of pure EV range and up to 400 miles of combined range, but after 10 years and 47,000 miles, the engine tested by Via Dunn can’t come close to those numbers. He found that the gasoline engine, although not driving the wheels, revs up and down seemingly at random, meaning Fuel consumption with engine running is hardly better than a normal Silverado. It was also only about 20 Miles of electric range. Brutal. He noted that the battery couldn’t deliver full power for very long, meaning you actually lose some speed when going up a hill.

Even at the best of times, this conversion was kind of rickety. Dunn pointed out a lot of stuff that was left over from before the truck was rebuilt like cruise control buttons that are nothing to worry about, gear change buttons on the steering column that do nothing, and the fact that the truck’s onboard computer sometimes freaks out and doesn’t know what’s going on.

The Via VTrux is certainly an interesting piece of automotive history, but it was far from Bob Lutz’ best performance.

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *