The electric commercial vehicle start-up Volta Trucks has confirmed the start of engineering evaluation and development testing of the first prototype Volta Zero at HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton, UK.
The start of testing follows soon after the reveal of the first prototype chassis of the Volta Zero – the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner city logistics.
Affectionately named ‘Volta Minus One’ by development engineers, as the forerunner to the production-specification Volta Zero, the prototype vehicle uses the proposed production specification chassis frame and drivetrain of the finished vehicle and will test all the electro-mechanical and thermal properties of the truck. This includes the high-voltage battery supplied by Proterra, and the compact rear axle, electric motor and transmission eAxle unit from Meritor. The unconventional bodywork of the prototype is purely designed to protect the development driver from the elements when the vehicle is moving at speed. The production vehicle will feature a cargo box design, but the prototype uses a flatbed to allow engineers to add different levels and locations of loads to test its weightcarrying capacity.
The prototype Volta Zero will continue testing at HORIBA MIRA over the coming months. The forthcoming test and development programme with this and later-specification prototypes also includes periods of cold weather testing north of the Arctic Circle, and hot weather testing in southern Europe. The comprehensive programme will ensure that the production-specification Volta Zero vehicles deliver the durability and reliability expected by fleet operators and vehicle owners.
These learnings will be taken into the production of Pilot Fleet vehicles that will be tested and evaluated by key customers who have signed up for both testing and the option to purchase series production trucks. This is designed 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.
The Volta Zero is the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne vehicle designed for inner-city logistics, reducing the environmental impact of freight deliveries in city centres. Designed from the ground up with an operating pure-electric range of 150 – 200 kms (95 – 125 miles), the Volta Zero will eliminate an estimated 1.2M tonnes of CO2 by 2025.
Safety is also at the heart of Volta Trucks, with its ambition of producing the safest trucks for our cities.
The Volta Zero was designed for electric from the outset, which facilitates a step-change in vehicle, driver 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 prototype Volta Zero was launched in September 2020, with the first vehicles expected to be operating with customers in late 2021.