Geely to draw on VIA equipment and Volvo technology to produce medium-duty truck for China and US by 2019
A unit of Chinese automotive giant Geely is to form a new partnership with VIA Motors to build hybrid trucks.
Under an agreement announced this week, Zhejiang Geely New Energy Vehicle will work with Utah-based VIA to co-develop a medium-duty “extended range” electric truck, based on VIA’s proprietary vehicle software and systems control technology. The model is planned for launch in China and the Americas in 2019.
VIA develops electric and hybrid drive systems and already makes a range of extended range (eREV) and EV commercial vehicles, and supplies hybrid electrification equipment for vehicle classes from light duty to Class 8.
Its production models include a PHEV van in cargo and passenger variants, which although powered largely by a 4.3l V8 engine, does have a substantial 23 kWh battery good for around 40 miles.
VIA vehicles are marketed under its VTRUX brand and under its power-train systems V-Drive™ brand.
Further information on the planned medium-duty truck was not made immediately available, but the designation covers trucks from Classes 4-6, i.e. those with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of minimum 6.35 tonnes to a maximum of 11.8 tonnes, suggesting the model will require a sizable amount of hybrid equipment.
“Geely is the ideal strategic partner for VIA Motors, as the fastest growing global vehicle company, with a demonstrated commitment to the electrification of their portfolio of award winning vehicles,” said VIA chairman Bob Lutz
Zhejiang Geely Holding VP of international business and executive advisor to the board, Nathan Yu Ning explained more, suggesting that recently acquired Volvo trucks technology would also be used in the final model. He stated: “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. VIA Motors provides technology plus an engineering and management team that can support GCV to accelerate to be global leading commercial vehicle company and assist the introduction of GCV Trucks into North and Latin America through our newly formed joint venture.”
Geely is evidently keen to offer a diverse choice of electrified vehicles through its various brands and regions of operation. In addition to its new stake in Volvo trucks, Geely owns Volvo Cars, stakes in Lotus and the firm UK-based London Taxi Company (LTC), which changed its name to the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) in July last year, and which yesterday delivered the first of its new hybrid-electric black cabs.