Electric/Hybrid – Volta Trucks confirms its strategy on the American market
The introduction of Volta Trucks’ 100% battery-electric utility vehicles in North America will be led in 2023 by a Volta Zero Class 7 truck which is equivalent to the existing European 16-ton truck, with a dry or refrigerated cargo bed. The Volta Zero is a 100% battery-electric medium-duty truck specially designed for urban logistics. The Volta Zero’s basic design uses an innovative compact eAxle, including the all-in-one electric motor, transmission and axle, supplied by Michigan-based Meritor, and high-voltage batteries located in the chassis rails – their most safe possible location – from Proterra, based in California.
Volta Trucks will initially introduce a pilot fleet of 100 Class 7 trucks in mid-2023 that will be evaluated by US customers, starting in Los Angeles in mid-2023, with other cities to follow, prior to vehicle deployment of production in 2024 To date, Volta Trucks has built 24 “Design Verification” road prototypes which are currently undergoing a rigorous and extensive testing program in Europe. Prior to the North American introduction, the company expects to have already built more than 1,500 all-electric Class 7 trucks for European customers.
As a purpose-built vehicle for city logistics, the Class 7 Volta Zero will offer a modular battery configuration to deliver a range of 95 to 125 miles – more than enough for inner-city distribution routes. The vehicle is designed to accept both AC and DC 250 kW fast charging, which allows a full charge from empty in just over an hour. Alternatively, one hour of standard 19kW AC charging will add approximately 12 miles of range.
Although commercial vehicles represent only a small part of urban traffic, they have always been involved in a disproportionate number of accidents with vulnerable road users. Without the traditional internal combustion engine, Volta Trucks, alongside Astheimer Design, reconfigured the entire driving experience to raise the driver’s seat centrally and lower it, to meet pedestrians and cyclists at eye level. The greenhouse-style cab of the Volta Zero provides a 220-degree view around the vehicle, for optimal visual perception and reduced blind spots.
Thanks to Volta Zero’s innovative central driver’s station, drivers enter and exit the vehicle from either side, always on the sidewalk for their own safety, and through sliding rather than hinged doors, to also ensure the safety of passing cyclists.
The 33,000 lbs. The introduction of the Class 7 Volta Zero will be closely followed by a 19,500 pound Class 5 vehicle and a 26,000 pound Class 6 truck, equivalent to European 7.5 and 12 ton vehicles, in 2024/2025 .
The Class 5 and 6 Volta Zeros, revealed in April 2022, will have a close visual relationship to the Class 7 vehicle. All Volta Zeros benefit from the same world-class safety standards as the Class 7 vehicle, as well as its zero-emission powertrain, eliminating not only CO2 emissions, but also harmful particulates that cause local air quality and health issues. Class 5 and 6 trucks will be identical from the front, with the Class 6 vehicle having a longer frame and body, and a second set of rear wheels and tires, to accommodate the increased payload of the vehicle .
With its European experience, Volta Trucks understands the complexities faced by fleet operators when transitioning to electrification. In response, the company is offering its innovative Truck as a Service proposition – a one-stop-shop that brings together all the elements needed to electrify a fleet of trucks and bundles them into a single offer and monthly payment.
In Europe, Truck as a Service comprises a suite of services including initial site assessment to fully understand the infrastructure needs of a customer’s depot, through to installation of the charging configuration. It also includes vehicle financing and insurance to accelerate adoption and reduce ownership risk for the customer. Importantly, it also includes all service and maintenance requirements for the vehicle throughout the customer’s lifetime.
Using the same approach it has taken in Europe, Volta Trucks will develop its own ‘Volta Trucks Hubs’ for vehicle service and maintenance. The hubs will be located close to its customers’ own logistics centers to maximize availability and convenience. The company will also develop an extensive network of third-party facilities to increase geographic coverage of service and maintenance points.
Work is underway to initiate initial manufacturing in the US with an experienced partner, with agreements expected later in 2022. The first Class 7 vehicles delivered to the US will be built at the existing contract manufacturing facility of the company in Steyr, Austria, to ensure the quality of the first American vehicles, with all Class 5 and 6 vehicles destined for North America to be built in the United States from 2024/25.
“Since launching Volta Trucks in 2019 and revealing the Volta Zero in September 2020, we have used London, Paris and other European launch cities, where fleets are increasingly converting to electric, to prove that our concepts align with customer needs,” said Carl-Magnus Norden, founder of Volta Trucks, in announcing the U.S. roadmap ahead of ACT Expo in Long Beach, Calif. “With more than 6,000 vehicle pre-orders underway, from some of Europe’s largest fleet operators, it’s time to broaden our geographic horizons and look to the significant market opportunity in North America.I believe our truck fully electric will be perfectly suited to the needs of US customers, and we look forward to engaging customers to get feedback on our products and services, and then testing and learning as we seek to exceed meet their expectations. I look forward to meeting some of North America’s largest fleet customers and introducing them to our all-electric Class 7.
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