A Swedish startup named Volta Trucks has unveiled its first vehicle: an electric truck designed specifically for city parcel and freight deliveries. The Volta Zero is scheduled to start production in the UK in 2022, and the company is aiming to have as many as 500 vehicles on the road by the end of that year. While it’s far from the first EV designed with parcel delivery in mind — Amazon plans to use electric vans from Rivian and Mercedes—Benz to deliver customers’ orders — Volta Trucks has forged significant partnerships that could give it a role in shaping the future of deliveries.
European delivery service DPD will launch a pilot test using the Volta Zero to service customers within London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone in the first quarter of 2021. The company also told Reuters that it has “well progressed with another seven or eight customers.”
The Zero is a 16-tonne delivery vehicle that’s larger than a van but smaller than a big rig. It’s similar in size and nature to Volvo’s electric truck that was also designed for city use. (Another common thing between the two companies is that Volta Trucks was co-founded by Kjell Walöen who used to be a Volvo executive.) With a range of 95 to 125 miles, it can’t go as far as Volvo’s EV that has a range of up to 186 miles. However, the company says its range is “more than sufficient” for last—mile deliveries within the city.
The Zero will be powered by Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries that are highly modular and will allow Volta to adapt the vehicle to an operator’s specifications. And, in addition to being zero-emission, the EV will also be made of sustainably sourced natural Flax material and biodegradable resin in its exterior body panels.
Rob Fowler, Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, said in a statement:
“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. 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.”
Volta Trucks is currently building its first prototype for Zero. It expects to launch it later this year, so we’ll get a glimpse of the actual vehicle before DPD’s pilot starts, assuming everything goes according to plan.