Volta Trucks, the start-up electric vehicle manufacturer, 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. From launch, the Volta Zero will be a significant contributor to the future vision of zero-emission cities all over the world.
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.
“Commercial vehicles form the lifeblood of commerce and livelihoods in cities, but today’s large trucks dangerously impose themselves on our streets and dominate their surroundings. 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,” said Rob Fowler, chief executive officer of Volta Trucks.
Carl-Magnus Norden, Founder of Volta Trucks, said: “From the outset of the development of the Volta Zero, we understood the positive benefits that vehicle electrification would bring to society, and specifically the inhabitants of city centers where air quality is frequently at its worst. For Volta Trucks, electrification is the means to the end. The end of the internal combustion engine. The end of CO2 being emitted into our atmosphere and the end of harmful pollutants affecting the health of today’s, and the future, generations.”
With its deep knowledge of the logistics industry, Volta Trucks understands that the real-world operating range of an electric commercial vehicle is 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 kms (95 – 125 miles). This is more than sufficient for the daily use of a ‘last-mile’ delivery vehicle and has been validated using simulations with a full payload.
At launch, Volta Trucks 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 – the safest possible location.
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. Located between the chassis rails, the battery is as far away from an accident as possible. 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. By contrast, should a Nickel Cobalt Manganese battery cell be punctured, they can burn at extremely high temperatures. With commercial vehicles operating within public and depot environments, the use of Lithium Iron Phosphate negates these significant safety and insurance challenges.
Volta Trucks’ sustainability ambitions are also carried over into the battery technology and supply chain sourcing selection. Importantly, unlike the Nickel Cobalt Manganese battery, the Lithium Iron Phosphate battery contains no precious metals, eliminating the associated sourcing issues of those materials. And at the end of life of a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery, it can be recycled and reused as an energy storage device.
“Our engineers have worked with the world’s leading partners and suppliers to deliver the best possible product to fleet managers who are focussed on the electrification of their operations. The Volta Zero’s range of up to 125 miles will be sufficient for all inner-city logistics requirements. With Volta Truck’s ambition to be the world leader in safety and sustainability, we’ve created a brand-new design concept capturing the opportunities coming from being the world’s first purpose-built full-electric commercial vehicle,” said Kjell Walöen, co-founder and chief technology officer of Volta Trucks.