Fully electric inner-city delivery vehicle to be made in the UK

Electric vehicle manufacturer, Volta Trucks, has revealed its new fully electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner-city parcel and freight distribution. From launch, the vehicle named Volta Zero hopes to be a significant contributor to the future vision of zero-emission cities all over the world. The Volta Zero will start undertaking operator trials with some of Europe’s largest parcel delivery and logistics companies in the first half of next year.

Orders have already been taken from companies wanting to secure the first customer-specification vehicles, which are due to be delivered when production starts in 2022.


Manufacturing the Volta Zero

To design and develop the Volta Zero launch vehicle, Volta Trucks worked with a number of world-leading design and engineering consultancies, with Prodrive and Astheimer in the UK working together to produce the launch vehicle. In the first half of 2021, Volta Trucks will embark on the next stage of development, being 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.


The removal of the traditional internal combustion engine enabled the designers and engineers of the Volta Zero to completely rethink how a truck has always been designed. The driver of a Volta Zero has a wide 220-degrees of direct vision around the vehicle. This panoramic view of the surroundings through a glasshouse-style cab is designed to deliver a Transport for London five-star Direct Vision Standard rating for optimum visibility and the reduction of blind spots.

The protection of vulnerable road users is also enhanced by the use of rear-view cameras that replace traditional mirrors, a 360-degree birds-eye camera showing the driver their complete surroundings, and blind-sport warning systems that detect objects down the sides of the vehicle. The driver of a Volta Zero sits far lower than in a conventional truck, with their eye-line at around 1.8 meters. This mirrors the height of pedestrians and other road users nearby for easy visual communication between the driver and others around.

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 high-tech Flax weave was developed by Volta’s world-leading supplier, Bcomp of Switzerland, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, and is currently used in 16 of the world’s most competitive motor racing series. The Flax weave is reinforced with Bcomp’s patented powerRibs grid technology.

The result is a fully natural, extremely lightweight, high-performance fibre matting that is almost CO2 neutral over its lifecycle. It also matches the stiffness and weight of carbon fibre but uses 75% less CO2 to produce. The Flax matting is combined with a biodegradable resin by world-class composites manufacturer, Bamd in the UK, to produce the body panels for the Volta Zero.

The fully bio-based resin, derived from Rape Seed oil, creates a naturally brown coloured matting and a black natural pigment dye is added to complete its darker, technical appearance. At the end of their useful life, the Flax composite parts can be burnt within the standard waste management system and used for thermal energy recovery, unlike alternative composite materials that are usually sent to landfill.

This world-first natural composite is not just sustainable but is also safer for vehicles operating in inner-city environments. Should an accident occur, the Flax composite bends, reshapes and ultimately snaps, offering a flexible fracture behaviour without sharp edges. This reduces the risk of sharp debris that can injure people or cause further accidents through punctures.

Should an incident occur, thanks to the cab’s inner metal spaceframe structure, simulations have shown that this pioneering hybrid use of composite body panels has the same crash and safety performance as conventional steel material. 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.

Volta Trucks
www.voltatrucks.com

Michael Tyrrell

Digital Coordinator

Tags

Share This Article

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Related Articles

Most recent Articles

You may also like...