Volta Trucks launches Volta Zero

Swedish start-up Volta Trucks has launched its Volta Zero, the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle.

The Volta Zero has been designed specifically for inner-city parcel and freight distribution. Operator trials with parcel delivery and logistics companies will start in the first half of 2021 – logistics firm DPD is one of the companies to have signed up.

It will offer a pure-electric range of 150-200kms (95-125 miles). This is more than sufficient for the daily use of a ‘last-mile’ delivery vehicle and has been validated using simulations with a full payload, according to the company.

The Volta Zero has been designed to optimise its load-carrying capacity. The principle is that thanks to its overall design, the Volta Zero can operate in narrow city streets and undertake the role that three or four 3.5-tonne vehicles would ordinarily do.

It offers a payload of 8,600kgs, with an overall volume of 37.7m3 and is designed to accommodate 16 Euro pallets. A refrigerated cargo box will also be available, without reducing overall volume as a result of the vehicle design. Volta Trucks will integrate the use of the vehicle’s battery for the cooling and refrigeration unit of the cargo box that’s normally diesel-powered, thus further reducing CO2 or particulate emissions from commercial vehicle operations.

As with other commercial vehicles, the Volta Zero is limited to a top speed of 90km/h (56mph).

“Commercial vehicles form the lifeblood of commerce and livelihoods in cities, but today’s large trucks dangerously impose themselves on our streets and dominate their surroundings,” said Rob Fowler, chief executive officer of Volta Trucks. “With the launch of the Volta Zero, we are changing the face of road transport. Volta Trucks is redefining the perception of the large commercial vehicle, and how it operates in and integrates with, the zero-emission towns and cities of the future. This is made possible by the three pillars that define both Volta Trucks as a business and the Volta Zero – safety, sustainability, and electrification. Add to that our unique Truck as a Service proposition that reimagines a fleet manager’s business model. At Volta Trucks, we are directly contributing to society’s migration towards an electrified future.”

Designed for urban use

With the Volta Zero being aimed at urban use, the cabin design reflects this. For instance, drivers have 220-degrees of direct vision around the vehicle. This view 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. In addition, the Volta Zero has rear-view cameras rather than 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 also sits far lower than in a conventional truck, with their eye-line at around 1.8 metres. This mirrors the height of pedestrians and other road users nearby for easy visual communication between the driver and others around.

Volta add that the cabin has been designed to minimise cognitive overload for the driver. For instance, the central display conveys critical information while touch screens on each side are used for lights, climate control, navigation and trip planning, communication and in-cab media. Volta Trucks say the aim is for the driver’s workspace environment to be more akin to a premium car than today’s perception of a traditional commercial vehicle.

Drivers will also benefit from technologies such as Active Steering, Road Sign Assist, and Reversing Assistant with reversing camera, Lane Change Assist and Lane Departure Warning systems. The driver also benefits from a technical status monitoring system, based on artificial intelligence, that avoids breakdowns and maximises the uptime of the vehicle.


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 Volta Zero will use 160-200kWh of battery power and will use lithium iron phosphate batteries, which are well suited to large commercial vehicle use, the company says. It delivers a long cycle life, robust cell design, and good thermal stability, enhancing safety. Located between the chassis rails, the battery is as far away from an accident as possible. Should the vehicle be involved in a significant accident that punctures a battery cell, the lithium iron phosphate battery is very stable and does not ignite.

In addition, lithium iron phosphate batteries contain no precious metals, eliminating the associated sourcing issues of those materials. And at the end of its life a lithium iron phosphate battery can be recycled and reused as an energy storage device.

“By 2025, we aim to have saved around 180,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere – the equivalent annual CO2 usage of 24,000 houses – and improved inner-city air quality by emitting no pollutants. But for Volta Trucks, sustainability is much more than just tailpipe emissions,” said Fowler. “We take an environmental-first approach to all material sourcing and will continue to strain every sinew to ensure we deliver on our mission of becoming the world’s most sustainable commercial vehicle manufacturer.”

The Volta Zero will be manufactured in the UK, with the contract for the company to do that to be confirmed later in the 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.

There will be more on the Volta Zero, including an interview with CEO Rob Fowler, in the forthcoming October issue of Commercial Vehicle Engineer. To read the September issue, in which Rob Fowler talks about sustainability, click here

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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