Testing starts on all-electric Volta Zero

The development of a fully electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle has moved up a gear with the start of engineering evaluation and development testing of the first prototype Volta Zero.

The work is being carried at HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton and is expected to yield a purpose-built commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner city logistics.

Dubbed ‘Volta Minus One’, as the forerunner to the production-specification Volta Zero, the prototype vehicle uses the proposed production specification chassis frame and drivetrain of the finished vehicle and will test all the electro- mechanical and thermal properties of the truck. This includes the high-voltage battery supplied by Proterra, and the compact rear axle, electric motor and transmission eAxle unit from Meritor.

MORE FROM AUTOMOTIVE

In a statement, Stockholm-headquartered Volta Trucks said the unconventional bodywork of the prototype is designed to protect the development driver from the elements when the vehicle is moving at speed. The production vehicle will feature a cargo box design, but the prototype uses a flatbed to allow engineers to add different levels and locations of loads to test its weight carrying capacity.

The prototype Volta Zero will continue testing at HORIBA MIRA over the coming months. The forthcoming test and development programme with this and later-specification prototypes includes periods of cold weather testing north of the Arctic Circle, and hot weather testing in southern Europe.

These learnings will be taken into the production of Pilot Fleet vehicles that will be tested and evaluated by customers who have signed up for testing and the option to purchase series production trucks. Full-scale production of customer- specification vehicles will follow at the end of 2022.

Volta Zero
Volta Trucks reveals the first real-world trials of the prototype Volta Zero (Image: Volta Trucks)

Ian Collins, chief product officer of Volta Trucks, said: “The start of testing and evaluation of the first prototype Volta Zero is a major milestone on our journey towards production, and an exciting time for all of the Volta Trucks team and our customers.

“To have achieved this landmark moment in just eight months is a great example of the nimble and agile approach we have at Volta Trucks. We work at high pace to ensure that we can bring zero emission, full-electric commercial vehicles to market quickly, because our customers require vehicles as soon as possible.

“We need to go through a comprehensive and thorough development programme, but the start of prototype testing is evidence that we are on track to deliver production vehicles, on time, by the end of next year.”