Sweden’s Volta Trucks has confirmed it has started testing and evaluation phase of its first working electric prototype — the Volta Zero.
Zero is the world’s first purpose-built, fully-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner city logistics.
With an operating range of 150-200km, it’s designed to reduce the environmental impact of freight deliveries in city centres.
Volta claims it has the potential to eliminate an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 by 2025.
Zero is designed to be safe too.
Thanks to the removal of the internal combustion engine, the operator sits in a central driving position, with a much lower seat height than a conventional truck.
This combination, plus a glass house-style cab design, gives the driver a wide, 220 degrees of visibility, minimising dangerous blind spots.
The prototype Volta Zero was launched in September last year, with the first finished vehicles expected to be operating with customers in late 2021.
The prototype has been dubbed ‘Volta Minus One’ by development engineers and uses the proposed production specification chassis and drivetrain.
It will be used to test all the electro-mechanical and thermal properties of the truck.
This includes the high-voltage battery supplied by Proterra and the compact rear axle, electric motor and transmission eAxle unit from Meritor.
The production vehicle will feature a cargo box design, but the prototype uses a flatbed to allow engineers to add different levels and locations of loads to test its weight carrying capacity.
The unconventional bodywork of the prototype is designed to protect the development driver from the elements when the vehicle is moving at speed.
The forthcoming test and development program with this and later-specification prototypes will also include periods of cold weather testing north of the Arctic Circle and hot weather testing in southern Europe.
Volta says the comprehensive program will ensure production-specification Volta Zero vehicles deliver the durability and reliability expected by fleet operators and vehicle owners.
The findings will be taken into the production of Pilot Fleet vehicles that will be tested and evaluated by key customers who have signed up for both testing and the option to purchase series production trucks.
This is designed 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.