Volta electric truck

Could this Volta E-Truck revolutionise UK deliveries?

New truck manufacturer Volta is developing an all-electric truck that could radically change commercial vehicles for the new age of electric mobility.

Volta, which is based in Sweden and the UK, claims its Zero truck is the first purpose-built fully electric, large commercial vehicle that has been specifically designed for inner-city last-mile freight and parcel distribution.

Removing the traditional internal combustion engine has enabled Volta to completely rethink and redesign the traditional commercial vehicle, focusing on the safety of the Zero’s driver and other road users.

“Safety is at the heart of the Volta brand for one simple reason,” said Carl-Magnus Norden, founder of Volta Trucks. “In London, as an example, 23 per cent of pedestrian fatalities and 58 per cent of cyclist deaths involve an HGV, yet large trucks only account for four per cent 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

Carl-Magnus Norden, founder of Volta Trucks

Volta Zero drivers will sit in a central driving position with a 220-degree arc of vision around the vehicle. The aim behind this panoramic view of the surroundings, through a glasshouse-style cab, is to create optimum visibility and reduce blind spots. Safety and visibility are also enhanced by the inclusion of rear-view cameras instead of traditional mirrors, a 360-degree camera and blind-sport warning systems. Without an internal combustion engine, drivers will also sit lower than in a conventional truck, with their eyeline at around 1.8 meters, which mirrors the height of pedestrians and other road users in close proximity.

A lower cab height and seating position provides easy ingress and egress for the driver who will be frequently entering and returning to the vehicle. To further enhance the driving environment, a modern, open and simplified cab comes with a contemporary, uncluttered dashboard and driver information interface. The central display conveys critical information while touchscreens on each side are used for lights, climate control, navigation and trip planning, communication, and in-cab media. These features are designed to create an easy-to-use environment that reduces distraction and, as a result, fatigue and stress.

Also intended to make life easier for the driver is the range of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which aid driving, manoeuvring and parking, and contribute to the safe operation of larger vehicles.

Sustainability issues are addressed in the Volta Zero through its construction using natural Flax fibre composite body panels that will bend, reshape and ultimately snap. This flexibility is considered to be well suited to urban mobility, as it reduces the risk of sharp debris that can injure pedestrians or other road users, or cause further accidents through punctures.

The Volta Zero’s potential has already been recognised by parcel delivery service DPD, which is taking part in a pilot test of the truck in early 2021. The DPD Volta Zero vehicles will operate in London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and support the company’s micro-depot strategy.

The Volta Zero was specifically designed to deliver parcels and freight in inner-city locations where today’s air quality and noise pollution challenges are at their worst.

Rob Fowler, chief executive of Volta Trucks

Olly Craughan, CSR general manager of DPD Group UK Ltd, said: “The vehicle is an ideal fit for our Urban Logistics strategy. The fact that it will be the most sustainable commercial vehicle is a fantastic achievement too, and mirrors our own strategy to be the UK’s leader in sustainable delivery.”

Rob Fowler, chief executive of Volta Trucks, added: “The Volta Zero was specifically designed to deliver parcels and freight in inner-city locations where today’s air quality and noise pollution challenges are at their worst. The Volta Zero’s full-electric, zero-emission operation is perfectly suited to DPD’s distribution requirements within London’s strict Ultra Low Emission Zone, delivering parcels to Central London’s customers in a clean and efficient way.”

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