The all-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and service provider Volta Trucks has achieved a new industry-leading rating for the Direct Vision Standard. With a volumetric score of 32.82m³, the rating for the Volta Zero is the highest ever result of any vehicle tested and 50% higher than the nearest competitor vehicle tested, at 22m³.
Following nearly a decade of research by Loughborough University, commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) and led by Dr Steve Summerskill, the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) was created for heavy goods vehicles wanting to travel into and around London. Introduced in 2021, as part of the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero Plan to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s transport network by 2041, the standard sets minimum requirements for driver vision of commercial vehicles over 12 tonnes, if they want to enter the capital city.
Beyond the UK, following the adoption of the EU General Vehicle Safety Regulation, 29 countries including every EU member state are now also adopting a UNECE Direct Vision Standard for new trucks from 2026 (and all existing trucks from 2029) ensuring vehicles operating in city centres provide better vision for the driver.
The all-electric Volta Zero was designed with safety at its core, with urban road users, pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers in mind. The driver of a Volta Zero sits in a central driving position and far lower than in a conventional truck, with their eye-line at around 1.8 metres. This is the same height as pedestrians and other road users for easy visual communication between the driver and others in the urban environment. The Volta Zero’s glasshouse-style cab provides a panoramic view of the surroundings with a wide 220-degree field of direct visibility and is further enhanced by camera technology providing 360-degree coverage of the vehicle’s surroundings.
Ian Collins, Chief Product Officer at Volta Trucks, said: “With the design of the Volta Zero we had the chance to start from a blank sheet of paper. We wanted to produce an electric vehicle, but we also wanted to address the safety issues that we see every day when trucks are operating in built-up environments. From the very start of the project to create the Volta Zero, we have been very much informed by the research that Loughborough has done. We are pleased to see that this is now being adopted as an industry standard across Europe.”
Speaking about the new standard, Dr Summerskill said: “For years we have been focussed on highlighting just how poor current truckdriver vision is and the risk it poses to vulnerable road users. Thanks to organisations such as Transport for London we were able to drive change in London, which has ultimately led to a new European standard. It is no exaggeration to say that this change will save the lives of countless cyclists and pedestrians. I’m incredibly proud that our work has been able to play a part in this.”
Discussing the Volta Zero, Dr Summerskill concluded; “I’ve sat in all kinds of trucks all over the world and the Volta Zero is really quite stunning in terms of the ability to see everything that you need to see around you when at a junction. I am very impressed with the design of the Volta Zero.”