You may not be familiar with Volta Trucks yet, but it has the potential to soon establish itself as a major player in the field of electric transportation. The Swedish company is pushing forwards with its new 16-ton electric truck and working to allay any concerns about the electrification of large transport trucks.
In 2020, Volta launched the Zero vehicle, and since then, the company has been quickly changing the design. Instead of using traditional truck design, Volta redesigned the Zero from the ground up. One of the Volta's most innovative elements, for instance, is the center seating position, which builds on the company's safety goals for the truck itself.
Customer trials for the Design Verification model of the Zero truck started in June, giving prospective purchasers the option to test drive one. Before 2024, there will be 7.5, 12, and 18 tonne variants of the vehicle.
The Steyr Automotive, previously MAN Truck and Bus Austria, will construct the new truck for Volta. By the end of 2025, the company aims to sell about 22,500 trucks. The company is now constructing its second generation "production verification" prototypes in Austria, and a pilot fleet of trucks will be equipped with these models. To enable fleet managers to gain more knowledge about the Volta Zero truck, these will be lent to clients in late 2022 and early 2023.
Quick Design to Production
The pace with which Volta has introduced its new vehicle to the market is noteworthy given that the company only constructed its first prototype earlier this year. The company plans to begin manufacturing at the beginning of next year and has a backlog of orders totaling about 6,500 vehicles, or a value of €1.4 billion.
Interior cabin of the Volta Zero
Volta hasn't attracted interest by going it alone completely in its pursuit of providing emission-free last-mile hauling. In order to quickly produce the vehicle, Volta has worked with a variety of suppliers rather than designing, developing, and manufacturing its own batteries and powertrain.
Co-founder of Volta, Kjell Waloen said: “The difference between us and Elon Musk with Tesla is that he started when there wasn’t much of an industry. Now there is an industry and so there’s no need to develop the battery.
The battery packs that are located in the middle of the chassis will be provided by the US company Proterra, and Meritor has developed a cutting-edge ePowertrain specifically for the Zero truck. There is no need for a driveshaft because the e-motor powers the rear wheels using a two-speed transmission.
Trucks as a Service
Volta introduced its Trucks as a Service division earlier this year in order to provide support to its customers while they possess the vehicles. Several hubs will be used by Volta to distribute its service, with Paris serving as the first location. However, maintenance isn't the only use for trucks as a service. The entire business exists to assist clients with anything from insurance to charging installations. The company gave the example of a basic, 16-tonne ambient Volta Truck and claimed that a business could pay approximately €4000 per month for both the truck and the Trucks as a Service advantages through a subscription plan.
The Prototype is Impressive
The central driver's seat and the entrance into the cabin itself were the most striking features of the Zero, though it nonetheless left an immediate impression. Given that the step into the Zero is virtually level with the curb, it is comparable in many ways to getting onto a bus.
Additionally, Volta has abandoned traditional doors in favor of sliding doors, one on each side of the cab, which slide open by gliding a hand over a sensor. This was done in an effort to reduce the amount of collisions caused when truck drivers open their doors onto oncoming traffic, particularly bicycles.
Carl-Magnus Nordon drew the original sketches for his Zero truck just three years ago. The vehicle that Volta Trucks is about to put into series production could end up being one of the most important in the electrification of HGVs.