Volta Trucks has revealed the new Volta Zero – its first vehicle and 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 operator trials with some of Europe’s largest parcel delivery and logistics companies in H1-2021. 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.
“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.” said Rob Fowler, CEO of Volta Trucks. “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”
“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” said Carl-Magnus Norden, Founder of Volta Trucks.
The removal of the traditional internal combustion engine enabled more freedom for the designers and engineers. The driver of a Volta Zero has a wide 220-degrees of direct vision around the vehicle.
The protection of vulnerable road users is also enhanced by the use of rear-view cameras that replace traditional mirrors, a 360-degree birds-eye camera showing the driver their complete surroundings, and blind-sport warning systems that detect objects down the sides of the vehicle.
The central display conveys critical information while touch screens on each side are used for lights, climate control, navigation and trip planning, communication, and in-cab media. To aid ingress and egress, the removal of the internal combustion means the driver sits in a central driving position with a swivel seat. They have easy access through fast opening sliding doors on either side of the cabin to enter or exit either side of the vehicle into the busy or narrow streets.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
The Volta Zero will offer the latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS electronic systems help driving, safety, manoeuvring, and parking.
The driver of a Volta Zero will benefit from technologies such as Active Steering, Road Sign Assist, and Reversing Assistant with reversing camera. While on the move, Lane Change Assist and Lane Departure Warning systems ensure that the truck operates as safely as possible. The vehicle’s operator also benefits from a technical status monitoring system, based on artificial intelligence, that avoids breakdowns and maximises the uptime of the vehicle.
The Volta Zero will use a sustainably sourced natural Flax material and biodegradable resin in the construction of exterior body panels, with the cab’s dark body panels and many interior trims constructed from the natural material.
The Flax weave is reinforced with Bcomp’s patented powerRibs grid technology. The result is a fully natural and lightweight 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.
Should an incident occur, thanks to the cab’s inner metal spaceframe structure, simulations have shown that this pioneering hybrid use of composite body panels has the same crash and safety performance as conventional steel material.
“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” said M.Fowler
Innovation in electric motors
The Volta Zero will offer a pure-electric range of 150—200 kms (95—125 miles). This is sufficient for the daily use of a ‘last-mile’ delivery vehicle and has been validated using simulations with a fall payload.
At launch, Volta Trucks will use an innovative e-Axle to drive the rear wheels, rather than the conventional electric motor and driveshaft set up used by the small number of other electric truck manufacturers. The single electric motor, transmission, and axle of the Volta Zero are contained in a lightweight and compact e-Axle unit that will deliver an increased range. It also provides packaging benefits by freeing up space between the chassis rails. This is where Volta Trucks fits the battery of the vehicle.
Safe and sustainable battery technology
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, enabling Volta Trucks to adapt the vehicle to an operator’s specific requirements.
The Lithium Iron Phosphate battery technology is well suited to large commercial vehicle use. It delivers a long cycle life, robust cell design, and good thermal stability, enhancing safety. Should the vehicle be involved in a significant accident that punctures a battery cell, the Lithium Iron Phosphate battery is very stable and does not ignite. With commercial vehicles operating within public and depot environments, the use of Lithium Iron Phosphate negates these significant safety and insurance challenges.
Volta Zero – the truck
The Volta Zero has been designed to optimise its load-carrying capacity, thus minimising the number of vehicles on an operator’s fleet, and the consequent congestion on city streets. The principle is that thanks to its overall design, the Volta Zero can operate in narrow city streets and undertake the role that three or four 3.5-tonne vehicles would ordinarily do.
The Volta Zero offers a payload of 8,600kgs, with an overall volume of 37.7m3 and is designed to accommodate 16 Euro pallets. A refrigerated cargo box will also be available, without reducing overall volume as a result of the vehicle design. Volta Trucks is integrating the use of the vehicle’s battery for the cooling and refrigeration unit of the cargo box that’s normally diesel-powered, thus further reducing CO2 or particulate emissions from commercial vehicle operations.
Volta has entered a tire partnership with Bridgestone effective September 3.
“I’m delighted that Volta Trucks is partnering with Bridgestone for the supply of tires to our launch and demonstrator fleet vehicles. As the manufacturer of the world’s first purpose-built full-electric large commercial vehicle, we are pioneering in the electrification of commercial vehicles and I am pleased to work with an innovative and world-renowned tire company like Bridgestone who can help support our early ambitions.”