Maximum Bob’s 588kW battery bakkie

17 January, 2013 | by Lance Branquinho

‘Maximum’ Bob Lutz isn’t your normal octogenarian. When he’s not flying around in his ex-communist-bloc Aero L-39 Albatros fighter jet, he’s still making changes to the car industry.

The man who had a large hand in shaping America’s path into fuel efficiency with the Chevy Volt/Vauxhall Ampera hasn’t lost his green fingers – despite also having been instrumental in the Dodge Viper’s conceptualisation.

No, Bob’s now cleaning up the utility industry by introducing the first extended-range electric bakkie – which just happen to have 588kW and can do 2.3l/100km.

Via Motors, a company he’s backing, unveiled this at the Detroit Motor Show: the X-Truck Concept. It may look like a re-bodied and beefed up Chevy Silverado on the outside – which it is – but underneath there’s a plug-in hybrid powertrain. So it works along the same lines as a Volt or Ampera.

There are two 294kW motors that power the car: a 24-kWh, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack and a 5.3-litre GM V8. The engine isn’t the main source of power, but just comes in to play when the battery is down to 20% state-of-charge. Then that big V8 will kick in to power you along and charge up the pack. When the battery is back up to 25%, the V8 pipes back down again and you’re cruising solely on electricity.

Via claim that you can achieve “better than 2.3l/100km in typical local daily driving” by utilising the electric motors rather than that big, thirsty V8. But if you’re anything like us, with 588kW on tap, that could be quite a challenge.

So TopGearheads, what do you think ‘Maximum’ Bob should do next?


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