Volta Zero

Volta Zero Electric 16-tonne Truck

Volta Trucks 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.

Designed from the ground up with an operating pure-electric range of 95-125 miles, the Volta Zero will eliminate an estimated 180,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2025.

Safety is also at the heart of Volta Trucks, with its ambition of being the safest large commercial vehicle manufacturer. The Volta Zero was designed for electric from the outset, which facilitates a step-change in vehicle and pedestrian safety. Thanks to the removal of the internal combustion engine, the operator of a Volta Zero sits in a central driving position, with a much lower seat height than a conventional truck. This combination, plus a glass house-style cab design, gives the driver a wide 220-degrees of visibility, minimising dangerous blind spots.

The first prototype Volta Zero is currently being built, and will be launched later in 2020, with the first pilot test vehicles due to start evaluation with customers in Q1-2021.

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.

Due to its innovative electric powertrain, the Volta Zero has 90% less mechanical parts than an equivalent internal combustion engine vehicle. As a result, Volta Trucks is targeting the same Total Cost of Ownership as equivalent diesel-powered vehicles, providing a further incentive towards the migration to electric vehicles.

The Volta 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 Volta Zero has been designed to optimise its load-carrying capacity, thus minimising the number of vehicles on 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 truck offers a payload of 8,600kgs, with an overall volume of 37.7m3 and is 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. Volta Trucks is integrating the use of the vehicle’s battery for the cooling and refrigeration unit of the cargo box that’s normally diesel-powered, thus further reducing CO2 or particulate emissions from commercial vehicle operations.

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

Volta Trucks is a start-up full-electric goods vehicle manufacturer and services company. Volta Trucks has offices in the UK and Sweden and has partnered with a number of industry-leading design and engineering companies to develop the Zero, including Prodrive, Astheimer and Magtec.

In 2021, Volta Trucks will embark on the next stage of development, the production of 12 pilot fleet vehicles. These vehicles will be built in the UK and used for testing and evaluation with a number of Europe’s leading logistics companies to provide operator input and feedback on the final production specification.

Production of the Volta Zero is due to commence in 2022 and investigations are ongoing to secure a contract manufacturing partner to assist with production. Production is anticipated to be in the UK. By the end of 2022, Volta Trucks aims to have built around 500 customer-specification vehicles, rising to 5,000 vehicles a year by 2025, and increasing thereafter.

Volta Trucks was formed in Sweden by co-founders, Carl-Magnus Norden and Kjell Walöen. It retains its head office in Stockholm, Sweden but most of its business operations are undertaken in the UK.