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Best Western To Use 1,000 Via Range-Extended Electric Vans As Hotel Shuttles

VIA Motors has announced an $80 million purchase agreement with its Canadian distributor, Sun Country Highway, to deploy 1,000 of Via’s range-extended electric Vtrux vans as shuttle vehicles at Best Western hotels.

The pact is important for Via, giving it a major commitment that could kick-start demand for its full-size commercial plug-in electric vehicles.

Sun Country Highway 401 corridor map

Sun Country Highway 401 corridor map

As for Sun Country, which we profiled three months ago, it continues to roll out its growing network of electric-car charging stations along Canada’s secondary highways.

It has also expanded its network into Washington state, with further charging-station installations planned for Best Western locations in California, Florida, and Texas.

Because charging stations are the company’s main business–purchasers pay all installation costs–Sun Country targets businesses with large capital budgets, which can justify the cost as a way of distinguishing themselves from competitors and attracting electric-vehicle owners to their sites.

So the Via/Best Western deal gives Via Motors a major purchase commitment, it secures a supply of plug-in vehicles for Sun Country, and Best Western will save thousands of dollars per year in operating costs for each vehicle–despite the much higher purchase prices.

Best Western can also utilize the on-site Level 2 charging stations it’s having Sun Country install.

For electric vehicle enthusiasts, Best Western’s use of range-extended electric vans will have the added benefit of getting “butts in seats” like few other plug-in initiatives to date.

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