Jay Leno’s Garage – “The Truck version of the Chevy Volt”

August 17, 2012

Much as climate deniers hate  the implications of  21st century technology, and despite the best efforts of the Fox news/talk radio disinformation machine – time does have a way of moving forward, and change happens. From the Description:

Bob Lutz stops by the garage with his latest exciting venture, Via’s extended range electric truck. With a 4.3-liter GM-sourced V6, it takes four hours to charge at 220, gets roughly 100 mpg with a full range of 300 miles – and you can run your power tools off it!

Check out the Official Jay Leno’s Garage Site for more:

Right. It’s expensive, but so were flat screen TVs 8 years ago.  The fuel savings make it a winner for fleet sales, which is what it will take to scale production and bring costs down. An idea whose time has come.

Sorry, Fox.

10 Responses to “Jay Leno’s Garage – “The Truck version of the Chevy Volt””

  1. MorinMoss Says:

    Since GM is backing Envia who appears to have tripled the commonly achievable energy density of Li-on packs, this truck could come down in price a lot in the next
    few years.

    But it’s probably counterproductive to take a built truck and then modify it if you’re targeting the fleets and average Joes.

    Build it as a gas-electric (why not diesel-electric) hybrid from the ground up.

  2. rayduray Says:

    Can anyone find a price for this Via VTRUX hybrid vehicle? My guess would be that once it goes into production that the retail sticker price will be in a range between $50,000 and $90,000 per vehicle. Can anyone help me dial that in?

    In the meantime, I have to be somewhat of a scrooge and point out that a century ago when Henry Ford was pioneering the Model A and Model T, that he ingeniously came up with an assembly line that meant that his own employees could affordably purchase the product they were making, in a virtuous circle of capitalism.

    Is the same thing possible with the new hybrid Via VTRUX? Will the vehicle assemblers be able to afford this new hybrid? While the vehicle owner might be saving $100 per month in fuel costs with average miles driven, won’t the owner be possibly saddled with an $800 per month financing of this vehicle in a lease or financed purchase situation? From what I know of the latest agreements between GM and the UAW, we’re on a two-tier system that is crushing the wages of new hires.

    And what of the battery life? I’ve seen some literature about disappointing battery life and utterly uneconomic replacement cost for batteries with some electric vehicles.

    Call me a skeptic on this one. Chevy Volt sales have been largely a disappointment to GM so far. In spite of all the hype, paying $40,000 for a less-than-sexy sedan just isn’t a sweet spot in the auto industry. Being asked to pay $80,000 for a brand new shiny pick up truck might just make the used car lot or the bicycle shop seem a lot more appealing to your average living-with-the-parents, 20-something, college-debt-paying barista.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      See my comment on flat screens. Your grasp of history is shaky.

      • rayduray Says:


        Re: “See my comment on flat screens. Your grasp of history is shaky.”

        I’m well familiar with flat screens. I bought one last December when the price got down to what seemed to me to be a sensible price. Alas, the unit worked for seven months before it failed.

        As far as my grasp of history, I’ll admit to speaking somewhat metaphorically. But the gist of what I was trying to get across is that the preponderance of America’s youth, saddled as they are with student loans and miserable work prospects will not be buying the Via VTRUX in quantity. Nor, for that matter, will the other large pickup truck audience, i.e. America’s farmers and ranchers, who will not be affording many equipment upgrades after the punishing summer we’re having.

        My point was that the VTRUX seems like a luxury item in a belt-tightening age, a toy for the 1%. And not a practical solution for the transportation fleet of the 21st Century.

        As an aside, let me add that there is currently a bit of a building boom going on in apartment construction in Portland, OR. Known as one of the “greenest” cities
        in America, what’s new about these apartment units is that in order to make them affordable, they have simply zeroed out the budget for parking. No one renting these apartments is likely to be buying a VTRUX, or any vehicle for that matter. This is the reality that’s coming. No matter how large a garage Jay Leno can afford.


        • MorinMoss Says:

          It depends on how much faith you have in Bob Lutz. I don’t much agree with his politics but he is a car guy through and through.
          And if he’s targeting fleet, construction and industry, he’ll quickly fail if he doesn’t deliver.

          According to the info under Pre-order from the main web page, the claim is that fleet deliveries are already happening and shipping to consumers will start next year.

          Also from the actual pre-order page, the claimed price is $79000 “in volume”.
          Not sure if that is before or after any potential rebates.


          • rayduray Says:

            Hey Morin,

            Terrific work on the financial snooping. I had to laugh about the price quote. Perhaps I’m naive but I’ve never seen an offer exclusively stated on vehicles “in volume” before. So basically anyone putting down a $1,000 deposit on one vehicle is buying a pig in a poke. Is it going to cost $160,000? $200,000? Whatever the market will bear? Ha ha.

            This offer reminds me of the old joke about the intrepid adventurer going into the souk in some mysterious and exotic Oriental city and telling a traveling companion that it’s crucial to always counting your fingers after shaking hands with any merchant there. 🙂

            I love this calculator. it’s a breeze to operate: http://www.viamotors.com/vtrux/life-cycle-savings-calculator/

            The key to this vehicle is lithium. And the key to lithium in the next century might just be Bolivia:

          • MorinMoss Says:

            I hope for the sake of the Bolivian people that their supplies of lithium benefit them as it’s not always the case that abundant natural resources pay off for the general populace.

            Regarding your comment earlier about battery life, I would think that, while it might be a hassle if the batteries die quickly, it shouldn’t be expensive if they’re still under warranty.

            I believe the current standard is 8yr / 100,000 miles; of course, you have to read the fine print and not do something dumb like that guy who let his Tesla batteries drop to zero.

            Batteries will only get better and probably lighter . So long as the automakers don’t make them overly difficult to remove, we won’t think any more about them in a decade or two that we do about AAA or smartphones now (unless you have an iPhone 🙂 )

  3. […] Much as climate deniers hate  the implications of  21st century technology, and despite the best efforts of the Fox news/talk radio disinformation machine – time does have a way of moving for…  […]

  4. rayduray Says:

    I have to admit to being surprised that Jay Leno’s Garage would become a topic here at Climate Crocks. Why? Because I have a sneaking suspicion that the video above is a paid infomercial with Jay Leno receiving payment from Via’s VTRUX marketing campaing. Do I have proof? No.

    But this sort of promotion would pretty neatly fall into the $15 to $20 million in annual income that Jay Leno receives “from his hectic personal appearance schedule”.


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