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.

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 thousands of dollars per year in operating costs for each vehicle — despite the much higher purchase prices.