Volta reveals new all-electric truck

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

Volta says the Zero will offer a pure-electric range of 150 – 200 km (95 – 125 miles). It will use 160 – 200 kWh of battery power.

The truck’s payload is 8,600kg, and overall volume is 37.7m3. It has been 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.

The Volta Zero is 9,460mm in length, 3,470mm high and 2,550mm wide, with a wheelbase of 4,800mm. It’s Gross Vehicle Weight is 16,000kgs and the vehicle is limited to a top speed of 90km/h (56mph).

It will start undertaking operator trials with some of Europe’s largest parcel delivery and logistics companies in the first half of 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.

The driver of a Volta Zero has a wide 220-degrees of direct vision around the vehicle. This panoramic view of the surroundings through a glasshouse-style cab is designed to deliver a Transport for London five-star Direct Vision Standard rating for optimum visibility and the reduction of blind spots.

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 driver of a Volta Zero sits far lower than in a conventional truck, with their eye-line at around 1.8m. This mirrors the height of pedestrians and other road users nearby for easy visual communication between the driver and others around.

In the cabin, 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.

The Volta Zero will offer the latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS electronic systems help driving, safety, manoeuvring, and parking, and make a significant contribution to the safe operation of larger vehicles. 

The driver of a Volta Zero will benefit from technologies such as Active Steering, Road Sign Assist, and Reversing Assistant with reversing camera, ensuring they have the latest safety support systems when operating in the confines of the city centre.

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.

Volta says the Zero will be the first road vehicle to 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 high-tech Flax weave was developed by Volta’s supplier, Bcomp of Switzerland, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, and is currently used in 16 of the world’s most competitive motor racing series.

At launch, Volta says it will be the first full-electric large commercial vehicle manufacturer in Europe to 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’s lighter and more efficient, delivering an increased range as a result.

It also provides packaging benefits by freeing up space between the chassis rails. This is where Volta Trucks fits the battery of the vehicle, which it says is the safest possible location.