Designed from a blank sheet of paper to be the safest commercial
is at the heart of the Volta brand for one simple reason. In London, as an
example, 23% of pedestrian fatalities and 58% of cyclist deaths involve an HGV,
yet large trucks only account for 4% of road miles. This is clearly
unacceptable and must change. The Volta Zero completely reimagines the
commercial vehicle, ensuring it can operate safely with all road users and
become a friend of the zero-emission city,” noted Carl-Magnus Norden, Founder
of Volta Trucks.
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.
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
and comfort for the driver have been optimized by minimising cognitive
overload. The design of the cabin is contemporary, spacious, and light, with
intuitive user interfaces. 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. A natural pallet
of colours, materials, and finishes give a comfortable yet elegant interior
that will appeal to a wide demographic of potential drivers. With the Volta
Zero, Volta Trucks is changing the experience and workspace for drivers,
offering them an environment more akin to a premium car than today’s perception
of a traditional commercial vehicle.
aid ingress and egress, the removal of the internal combustion means the driver
sits in a central driving position with a swivel seat. They have easy access
through fast opening sliding doors on either side of the cabin to enter or exit
either side of the vehicle into the busy or narrow streets.
removing the traditional internal combustion engine that has always sat high in
the front of a truck, we had a clean sheet of paper to design the commercial
vehicle suitable for the 21st century, rethinking the layout and design the
truck and its cab. We had three main priorities for the design of the cab. We
wanted it to be best in class for safety, ease and efficiency of ingress and
egress, and the best driver environment of any truck on the market. With the
Volta Zero, I can comfortably say that we have achieved that goal,” pointed out
Carsten Astheimer, Managing Director of Astheimer Design and lead-designer of
the Volta Zero.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
Volta Zero will offer the latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
ADAS electronic systems help driving, safety, manoeuvring, and parking, and
make a significant contribution to the safe operation of larger vehicles.
driver of a Volta Zero will benefit from technologies such as Active Steering,
Road Sign Assist, and Reversing Assistant with reversing camera, ensuring they
have the latest safety support systems when operating in the confines of the
city centre. While on the move, Lane Change Assist and Lane Departure Warning
systems ensure that the truck operates as safely as possible. The vehicle’s
operator also benefits from a technical status monitoring system, based on
artificial intelligence, that avoids breakdowns and maximises the uptime of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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,” said Fowler.
its deep knowledge of the logistics industry, Volta Trucks understands that the
real-world operating range of an electric commercial vehicle is a make-or-break
decision in its effectiveness on an operator’s fleet. When the Pilot fleet
vehicles are driving on the streets of the world’s largest metropolitan cities
during 2021, the Volta Zero will offer a pure-electric range of 150 - 200 kms
(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
launch, Volta Trucks will be the first full-electric large commercial vehicle
manufacturer in Europe to use an innovative e-Axle to drive the rear wheels,
rather than the conventional electric motor and driveshaft set up used by the
small number of other electric truck manufacturers. The single electric motor,
transmission, and axle of the Volta Zero are contained in a lightweight and
compact e-Axle unit that’s lighter and more efficient, delivering an increased
range as a result. It also provides packaging benefits by freeing up space
between the chassis rails. This is where Volta Trucks fits the battery of the
vehicle – the safest possible location.
Safe and sustainable battery technology
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.
Lithium Iron Phosphate battery technology is well suited to large commercial
vehicle use. 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. By contrast, should
a Nickel Cobalt Manganese battery cell be punctured, they can burn at extremely
high temperatures. With commercial vehicles operating within public and depot
environments, the use of Lithium Iron Phosphate negates these significant
safety and insurance challenges.
Volta Zero 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 is integrating 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
Volta Zero is 9,460mm in length, 3,470mm high and 2,550mm wide, with a
wheelbase of 4,800mm. Its Gross Vehicle Weight is 16,000kgs and the vehicle is
limited to a top speed of 90km/h (56mph).