All-electric Volta Zero truck on the road
05 December 2022
Full-electric 16-tonne truck designed for city centre distribution
Volta Trucks, a full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services company, is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has an engineering team led from the UK.
The company launched in late 2020 its Volta Zero 16-tonne medium-duty truck for local distribution. Since then, the company has been testing with customers Volta Zero ‘Design Verification’ prototype vehicles. Prototypes are now being built in Steyr, Austria, where Volta Trucks contracted production with manufacturing company Steyr Automotive; series production should follow in early 2023.
The company said, in 2023 it will launch series production of 16- and 18-tonne trucks versions in different European cities. By 2025 Volta Trucks expects to produce 22 500 vehicles per year and launch 7.5- and 12-ton vehicle types in Europe.
In the USA the company will initially introduce a pilot fleet of Class 7 trucks in mid-2023 to be evaluated by US customers. Production vehicles should roll off the assembly in 2024/25. The Class 7 Volta Zero introduction will be closely followed by Class 5 and Class 6 trucks in 2024/2025.
Two large pre-orders of Volta Zero trucks have been already announced: with DB Schenker’s for 1 470 vehicles and Petit Forestier with 1 000. Volta Trucks said it has a total order bank of over 6 500 vehicles with an order bank value of circa € 1.4 billion.
Battery and e-Powertrain technology
Volta Zero will use 75-kWh battery packs from US-based Proterra. Using two or three packs, trucks will reach from 150 to 225 kWh of battery power for a range of up to 200 km on a single charge. The company said, this distance is more than enough for most inner-city logistics and distribution vehicles which spend most of their operating time in slow-moving start/stop traffic.
Proterra li-ion battery packs use cylindrical cells and liquid cooling; thanks to their energy density and customizable design, they could be positioned between the truck’s chassis rails. The Proterra battery is designed to deliver over 4 000 recharge cycles over 10 years, without significant degradation.
The e-Powertrain of Volta Trucks drive the rear wheels and is composed of a single electric motor, transmission, and axle unit supplied by US-based Meritor. This lightweight and compact unit frees up space between the chassis rails, where the high voltage batteries could be located, in the safest possible location.
Volta Trucks look unconventional, in fact the removal of the internal combustion engine enabled the designers and engineers of the Volta Zero to completely rethink the traditional truck design. The driver of a Volta Zero has a 220-degree field of direct visibility around the vehicle with a panoramic view through a glasshouse-style cab. Side-view cameras replace traditional mirrors and a 360-degree birds-eye camera shows the driver their complete surroundings, while a blind-spot warning systems detects objects down the sides of the vehicle.
The design concepts for the Volta Zero were created by boutique design consultancy Astheimer of Warwick, UK. “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 21st century, rethinking the layout and design of the truck and its cab,” said Carsten Astheimer, managing director of Astheimer Design. “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 has been designed to optimise its load-carrying capacity, thus minimising the number of vehicles in 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 full-electric 16-tonne Volta Zero has a payload of 8 000 kg with an overall volume of 37.7 m3, designed to accommodate 16 Euro pallets.
Volta Trucks is committed to becoming a circular business, enhancing resource efficiency and eliminating landfill over the Volta Zero’s lifecycle. This responsibility is usually placed on the customer but the Volta Trucks model places all repair and recycling responsibility on the company.
“By 2025, we aim to have saved around 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere – the equivalent annual CO2 usage of 180 000 houses – and improved inner-city air quality by emitting zero tailpipe emissions,” said Carl-Magnus Norden, founder of Volta Trucks. “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.”
In line with its all-round approach to electrification, recently Volta Trucks announced a cooperation with Siemens which offers to Volta Trucks’ customers the possibility of electrifying their fleet quickly and efficiently, thanks to the supply of a full package for the recharge infrastructure that includes electrification net, software control, recharging stations, energy management, building support and project financing.
Read this article and more news about progress in new powertrains in the coming issue of Diesel Progress International. Subscribe HERE