Verizon is jumping on the Via Motors bandwagon. Mind you, the maker of burly electric extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs) for heavy-duty work has a modest-sized bandwagon, consisting of Pacific Gas & Electric. The California power utility partnered with Via way back in 2008 to develop EREVs and already owns two of the trucks, which provide mobile, onsite power to help manage electrical outages.

The Verizon deal was announced at the National Work Truck Show earlier this month. It calls for the two companies to work together on the development and demonstrate of Verizon vehicles using Via’s technology, with an eye toward possible wider deployment in Verizon’s vehicle fleet.

VIA Motors and Verizon to Develop Electric Vehicles
image via Verizon

Verizon said a primary driver in the move was the bottom line: “Work vehicles,” it said, “which typically carry thousands of pounds of equipment and cargo, can save significantly more money than lighter vehicles by shifting to electricity that costs just 50 cents per equivalent gallon in many states. ”

But like PG&E, Verizon is also looking for more than money and fuel savings from these electric trucks; it foresees using “the vehicles’ onboard generator and power export option to power work tools or even provide power to Verizon’s network in an emergency,” the company said.

Via demonstrated an electrified pickup truck and cargo van at the National Work Truck show. Both EREVs (extended range electric vehicles) use lithium-ion batteries which provide them with a driving range of 40 miles using electricity only per charge. After the 40 miles, they can drive as far as they want to using the backup electricity generator on board (as long as there are gas stations along the way).

The vehicles are charged using standard 110 volt household power outlets. Through independent testing, the Via trucks have achieved fuel efficiency of up to 100 mpg under typical fleet driving conditions, the company said. These vehicles are expected to cut Verizon’s fleet emissions by 50 percent or more and improve fuel economy by up to 300 percent.

According to the CEO of Via Motors, Kraig Higginson: “We anticipate that by demonstrating substantial operational savings through this project, Verizon will lead the way for many other fleets, demonstrating that going green actually saves money.”

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