Thursday July 07, 2022

Volta Trucks reveals the electric Volta Zero for inner city freight distribution

The Volta Zero truck
The Volta Zero truck

Electric vehicle manufacturer Volta Trucks has revealed the new Volta Zero, the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner-city parcel and freight distribution.

The Volta Zero will start undertaking trials with some of Europe’s largest parcel delivery and logistics companies in the first half of next year. Orders have already been taken from companies wanting to secure the first customer-specification vehicles, which are due to be delivered when production starts in 2022.

Rob Fowler, Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, explained: “With the launch of the Volta Zero, we are changing the face of road transport. Volta Trucks is redefining the perception of the large commercial vehicle, and how it operates in and integrates with, the zero-emission towns and cities of the future.

“This is made possible by the three pillars that define both Volta Trucks as a business and the Volta Zero - safety, sustainability, and electrification. Add to that our unique Truck as a Service proposition that reimagines a fleet manager’s business model. At Volta Trucks, we are directly contributing to society’s migration towards an electrified future."

Focus on safety and sustainability

Carl-Magnus Norden, Founder of Volta Trucks, added: “Safety is at the heart of the Volta brand for one simple reason. In London, as an example, 23% of pedestrian fatalities and 58% of cyclist deaths involve an HGV, yet large trucks only account for 4% of road miles.

“This is clearly unacceptable and must change. The Volta Zero completely reimagines the commercial vehicle, ensuring it can operate safely with all road users and become a friend of the zero-emission city.”

Therefore, with the Volta Zero, Volta Trucks is changing the experience and workspace for drivers. The driver of a Volta Zero sits far lower than in a conventional truck, with their eye-line at around 1.8 meters. This mirrors the height of pedestrians and other road users nearby for easy visual communication between the driver and others around.

Additionally, the Volta Zero will offer the latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), providing technologies such as Active Steering, Road Sign Assist, and Reversing Assistant with reversing camera, ensuring drivers have the latest safety support systems when operating in the confines of the city centre.

Norden further emphasized sustainability as the very core of the vehicle’s design. Thus, the Volta Zero will be the first road vehicle to use a sustainably sourced natural Flax material that is reinforced with the Swiss supplier’s Bcomp’s patented powerRibs grid technology.

The result is a fully natural, extremely lightweight, high-performance fibre matting that is almost CO2 neutral over its lifecycle. It also matches the stiffness and weight of carbon fibre but uses 75% less CO2 to produce.

Fowler highlighted: “By 2025, we aim to have saved around 180,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere - the equivalent annual CO2 usage of 24,000 houses - and improved inner-city air quality by emitting no pollutants. But for Volta Trucks, sustainability is much more than just tailpipe emissions.

“We take an environmental-first approach to all material sourcing and will continue to strain every sinew to ensure we deliver on our mission of becoming the world’s most sustainable commercial vehicle manufacturer.”

Long driving range, large payload

The third defining pillar of the company’s concept is the vehicle’s electrification. Volta Trucks emphasized it sees the real-world operating range of an electric commercial vehicle as a make-or-break decision in its effectiveness on an operator’s fleet.

When the Pilot fleet vehicles are driving on the streets of the world’s largest metropolitan cities during 2021, the Volta Zero will offer a pure-electric range of 150 - 200 km. This is more than sufficient for the daily use of a ‘last-mile’ delivery vehicle and has been validated using simulations with a fall payload.

In addition, the Volta Zero will use 160 - 200 kWh of battery power, and Volta Trucks has selected to fit the vehicle with Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries instead of a Nickel Cobalt Manganese set up used in most passenger cars. The Lithium Iron Phosphate battery will be highly modular and it delivers a long cycle life, robust cell design, and good thermal stability, enhancing safety.

Due to the vehicle’s overall design, it can operate in narrow city streets and undertake the role that three or four 3.5-tonne vehicles would ordinarily do, which minimises the number of vehicles on an operator’s fleet, and the consequent congestion on city streets.

The Volta Zero offers a payload of 8,600 kg. A refrigerated cargo box will also be available, without reducing overall volume as a result of the vehicle design. It is 9,460mm in length, 3,470mm high and 2,550mm wide, with a wheelbase of 4,800mm. Its Gross Vehicle Weight is 16,000kgs and the vehicle is limited to a top speed of 90km/h.

Operational trials in 2021

In H1, 2021, Volta Trucks will embark on the next stage of development, being the production of 12 pilot fleet vehicles. These vehicles will be built in the UK and used for testing and evaluation with a number of Europe’s leading logistics companies to provide operator input and feedback on the final production specification.

Production of the Volta Zero is due to commence in 2022 and investigations are ongoing to secure a contract manufacturing partner to assist with production. Production is anticipated to be in the UK. By the end of 2022, Volta Trucks aims to have built around 500 customer-specification vehicles, rising to 5,000 vehicles a year by 2025, and increasing thereafter.

SourceVolta Trucks

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