All Electric Urban HGV Comes Another Step Closer to Production

SWEDEN – UK – EUROPE – Having toured its prototype all electric commercial vehicle around Europe’s major cities in the past months, Volta Trucks, the start-up lorry manufacturer, has revealed the first running prototype chassis of its Volta Zero, moving a step closer to full production. The truck, a 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner city logistics, is claimed as the first such all electric HGV. The first running Volta Zero prototype chassis has been designed and built using the proposed production specification frame and drivetrain components of the finished vehicle.

This includes the high-voltage battery supplied by Proterra, and the compact eAxle, the integrated rear axle, electric motor and transmission unit, from Meritor. The Volta Zero will be Europe’s first commercial vehicle to use an innovative eAxle, designed for increased efficiency and vehicle range. Since the launch of its demonstrator in September 2020 the truck’s innovative safety-focused design, such as the central driving position, as well as its sustainability objectives have been positively received by customers and city legislators alike.

The new prototype chassis adds the proposed production-specification frame and drivetrain and will be able to drive at normal road speeds. The prototype chassis is due to start a comprehensive testing programme on proving grounds soon, with lessons taken into the production of a Pilot Fleet of vehicles expected to be delivered in late 2021. These vehicles will be tested by Volta Trucks engineers as well as being evaluated by key customers who have signed up for both testing and the option on the series production, to develop their understanding of how the Volta Zero will integrate into their operations.

Full-scale production of customer-specification vehicles will then follow at the end of 2022. Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, Essa Al-Saleh, commented; “The reveal of our first running prototype Volta Zero chassis is a major milestone on our journey to producing the first customer-specification vehicles in around 18 months’ time.

The prototype will provide our designers and engineers with feedback and real-world data on the vehicle performance. Learning from the prototype will also feed into the Pilot Fleet vehicles that will support our customer’s understanding of the electrification of their fleets. “But this is also a great example of the nimble and agile culture and approach we have at Volta Trucks.

While traditional vehicle manufacturers take years to undertake market assessments, design processes and vehicle development, at Volta Trucks, we work at speed because we know that the world’s climate emergency cannot wait, and our customers need vehicles now. “In six months, we have designed and developed a running prototype chassis and 18 months from now, we will be building series production vehicles for our customers. This is what they need, this is the speed they need us to work at, and this is what we’ll deliver.”

The design of the Volta Zero is a environmentally conscious city legislators dream. It ticks all the boxes for emissions and all round driver visibility with the driver centrally placed and much closer to the road due to the removal of a conventional engine. This combination, plus a glass house-style cab design, gives the driver a wide 220-degrees of visibility, minimising dangerous blind spots.

Designed from the ground up with an operating pure-electric range of 150 – 200 kilometres (95 – 125 miles), the makers claim the Volta Zero will eliminate an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 by 2025.