Volta Trucks has begun building the first prototype versions of its Zero electric truck in then UK. The Swedish company is producing 25 prototypes from its base in Coventry and reckons the full run will be finished and ready for testing in January 2022.
Described as the world’s first purpose-built 16-tonne EV truck designed specifically for inner-city logistics, the Volta Zero has an estimated range of 95-125 miles (153-201 km). That might not be much use for trucking from New York to L.A., but it sounds like plenty for short urban journeys. Volta wants to eliminate an estimated 1.2 million tonne of CO2 by 2025 by replacing conventional diesel trucks with its own EVs.
The 25 “Design Verification” (DV) prototypes are just that. They won’t be available for sale, but will be used to test the Zero in the kind of regular delivery situations it’s likely to encounter, as well as pitting it against the freezing temperatures of the Arctic and scorching heat of countries located close to the equator.
They’ll also be comprehensibly trashed in crash tests before the project can move on to the next stage, which is “Production Verification”. Unlike the Brit-built DVs, the PV Zeros will be assembled at Volta’s new plant in Steyr, Austria, in mid-2022. Some of those production-ready prototypes will then be loaned out to genuine customers to see how they fare in real-world situations without engineers at the wheel.
Volta hasn’t given away much in the way of technical details for the Zero, but judged on design alone, it’s clearly very different to existing diesel trucks. Getting rid of the huge combustion engine and transmission has allowed Volta’s designers to locate the driver centrally in the cab, and much lower down, while a large glass area promises 220-degree visibility.