Volta Announces ‘Engineering Kickoff’ of Smaller Electric Trucks
The 7.5- and 12-tonne variants will supplement Volta’s existing 16-tonne pure-electric commercial vehicle.
Volta Trucks has confirmed additional variants of its Zero line of commercial electric vehicles. The new models will be 7.5- and 12-tonne versions of the company’s existing 16-t truck. Volta states that a design concept has been selected and that both vehicles have entered the engineering phase of development.
The first prototype Volta Zero was launched in September 2020 and debuted in its production-ready form in November 2021. That truck was a 16-t model powered by a 150-225 kWh battery with a stated range of 90-125 miles (145-200 km). These smaller and lower tonnage models are intended to expand Volta’s lineup to serve a wider range of uses and customers.
“The full-electric 16-tonne Volta Zero is our first vehicle and the heart of our brand. But when designing that truck, we knew that we’d need to scale the innovative packaging and cab concept to accommodate different size vehicles,” said Ian Collins, chief product officer of Volta Trucks. “Our customers tell us that they appreciate the safety and zero-emission operations offered by the 16-tonne Volta Zero, but also need those positive attributes in smaller 7.5- and 12-tonne vehicles, and they need them quickly.”
Volta’s Zero trucks have been designed by the company’s partner, Astheimer Design, in Warwick, UK. The smaller trucks reportedly will share a “close but evolutionary” exterior and interior design with the existing 16-t vehicle. The smaller models also will carry over the same interior ergonomics as the 16-t model, which features a low and centralized seating position.
Volta also has confirmed that the Zero will feature integrated navigation services from HERE Technologies. The system will be designed to assist with route planning for urban deliveries and include software to find the most efficient routes, real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn voice guidance. The system will feature geolocation technology via what3words, which will navigate to destinations via a grid location rather than a street address.
The engineering development of the 7.5- and 12-tonne vehicles will take place in the UK. A target date of 2023 has been set to launch a pilot vehicle fleet for customer trials. Series production is currently slated for 2024. The new variants will be crucial to Volta’s production goal of 14,000 units in 2024 and 27,000 by 2025. Volta plans to launch these trucks initially in the markets of Paris and London, followed by Milan, Madrid and the Rhine Ruhr region of Germany, as well as the Randstad region of the Netherlands.
“Our creative partners at Astheimer have created an inspiring vehicle design that we’ve now started to engineer and bring to life,” Collins said. “We’ve scaled up our research and development operations to ensure that we can deliver a portfolio of products to market, starting in a year’s time with the 16-tonne Volta Zero.”
In addition to fulfilling different use cases than the existing 16-tonne Volta Zero, the 7.5- and 12-t vehicles will offer greater flexibility to customers in terms of usability. For example, the smaller trucks will be able to operate on Sundays in several European territories where the 16-tonne vehicle is currently excluded from doing so.
Engineering details about the 7.5- and 12-t Volta Zero trucks are not yet available. However, the new variants will be designed with the same engineering goal in mind as the 16-t model, which is to reduce the environmental impact of freight deliveries in urban areas.