Volta Trucks has revealed the first prototype chassis of the Volta Zero, the brands first fully electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle.
The Volta Zero has been designed specifically for inner-city logistics and built using the proposed production specification frame and drivetrain components of the finished vehicle. This includes the high-voltage battery supplied by Proterra, and the compact eAxle – the integrated rear axle, electric motor and transmission unit, from Meritor.
According to the manufacturer, the Volta Zero will be Europe’s first commercial vehicle to use an innovative eAxle for increased efficiency and vehicle range. The vehicle was launched in September 2020 and is currently being presented to customers at the Innovation and Technology in Transport (ITT) Hub conference in Farnborough, UK.
The new prototype chassis adds the proposed production specification frame and drivetrain and will be able to drive at normal road speeds. The prototype chassis is due to start a comprehensive testing programme on proving grounds soon, with learnings taken into the production of a Pilot Fleet of vehicles expected to be delivered in late 2021.
These vehicles will be tested by Volta Trucks engineers as well as being evaluated by key customers who have signed up for both testing and the option on the series production, 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.
Chief executive officer of Volta Trucks, Essa Al-Saleh, said: “The reveal of our first running prototype Volta Zero chassis is a major milestone on our journey to producing the first customer-specification vehicles in around 18 months’ time. The prototype will provide our designers and engineers with feedback and real-world data on the vehicle performance. The learning from the prototype will also feed into the Pilot Fleet vehicles that will support our customer’s understanding of the electrification of their fleets. But this is also a great example of the nimble and agile culture and approach we have at Volta Trucks.
“While traditional vehicle manufacturers take years to undertake market assessments, design processes and vehicle development, at Volta Trucks, we work at speed because we know that the world’s climate emergency cannot wait, and our customers need vehicles now. In six months, we have designed and developed a running prototype chassis and 18 months from now, we will be building series production vehicles for our customers. This is what they need, this is the speed they need us to work at, and this is what we’ll deliver.”