It seems like the electric commercial vehicle world is starting to heat up with more and more startups looking to the commercial customer side of things with various electric semis and delivery vehicles. One such startup is Volta, who recently unveiled their Volta Zero which they dub “world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle”.
The Volta Zero will not compete with any of the zero-emissions Semi trucks from the likes of Tesla, Nikola, Hyundai, or Volvo. Instead, the Zero will focus on inner-city freight delivery. As such, range is not a top factory when producing this electric commercial truck. It will be equipped with a 160-200 kWh battery that will give it a range of 95-125 miles, enough for any innercity deliveries. Volta has also opted for a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery technology instead of the more commonly found Nickel Cobalt Manganese configuration. According to them, this allows for longer cycle life, better thermals, and increased safety.
Rob Fowler, Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, commented:
“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.”
Volta also took the opportunity that removing the internal combustion engine gave and made some adjustments to increase the safety of the Zero. The driver is now able to be seated lower and has their eyes level with about the average height of pedestrians. Not only is the seating position now better, but Volta has put in a curved windshield that allows for a 220-degree field of view, further increasing environmental awareness.
Carsten Astheimer, Managing Director of Astheimer Design and lead-designer of the Volta Zero, reiterated the fundamentals of the electric commercial vehicle:
“By removing the traditional internal combustion engine that has always sat high in the front of a truck, we had a clean sheet of paper to design the commercial vehicle suitable for the 21 st century, rethinking the layout and design the truck and its cab. We had three main priorities for the design of the cab. We wanted it to be best in class for safety, ease and efficiency of ingress and egress, and the best driver environment of any truck on the market. With the Volta Zero, I can comfortably say that we have achieved that goal.”
The Volta Zero will also be packed with all the driving assistance tech that we have come to expect with electric vehicles. Volta lists Active Steering, Road Sign Assist, Reversing Assistant with reversing camera, Lane Change Assist, and Lane Departure Warning systems as some of the assistance that the Zero will be able to provide the driver.
Another trend we have been seeing an increase in electric cars is the increased use of sustainable material, and the Volta Zero is no exception. The Zero will use “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”. With these sustainable practices, Volta is hoping to save 180,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere by 2025.
Volta states that it will have a 12 vehicle pilot fleet start testing with customers in 2021 before production starts in 2022. Initially, production will be limited to 500 trucks a year before ramping up to 5,000 trucks a year by 2025.
How do you guys feel about the Volta Zero? Let us know down in the comments below.