The Volta Zero is the first purpose-built full electric large commercial vehicle specifically designed for inner-city last-mile freight and parcel distribution. The removal of the traditional internal combustion engine has facilitated a complete rethink and redesign of today’s commercial vehicle, with a clear focus on the safety of the Zero’s driver and all other road users.
“Safety 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 (heavy goods vehicle), yet large trucks only account for 4% of road miles. This is clearly unacceptable and must change. The Volta Zero completely re-imagines the commercial vehicle, ensuring it can operate safely with all road users and become a friend of the zero-emission city,” says Carl-Magnus Norden, Founder of Volta Trucks.
The driver of a Volta Zero sits in a central driving position with 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. Driving safety and visibility 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 detects objects on the vulnerable sides of the vehicle.
Thanks to the removal of the internal combustion engine, the driver of a Volta Zero sits far lower than in a conventional truck, with their eye-line at around 1.8 m. This mirrors the height of pedestrians and other road users in close proximity for easy visual communication between the driver and others around.
The Volta Zero’s cab has also been designed with the driver’s comfort at the fore. The 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, the modern, open and simplified cab comes with a contemporary, uncluttered dashboard and driver information interface. 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. The simple-to-use environment reduces distraction, and thus fatigue and stress, on the driver.
Technology-focused active safety
On top of the safety benefits delivered by the Volta Zero’s design, it will also offer the latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS electronic systems help driving, maneuvering and parking, and make a significant contribution to the safe operation of larger vehicles.
The 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 center. 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 maximizes the uptime of the vehicle.
Advanced material properties enhance passive safety
The revolutionary cab design of the Volta Zero incorporates a pioneering hybrid mix of innovative materials to provide the ultimate levels of passive safety.
Lightweight, high-strength carbon fiber is used for the structural windscreen surround but most of the cab’s external body panels are constructed from strong yet sustainable natural Flax fiber composite material. Unlike the structural carbon fiber, the innovative, near-carbon neutral Flax composite body panels will bend, reshape, and ultimately snap, unlike carbon fiber that shatters. This flexible behavior is well suited to urban mobility, reducing the risk of sharp debris that can injure people or cause further accidents through punctures.
And should 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.
Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, Rob Fowler, concludes, “We have created the full-electric Volta Zero as a direct response to the crucial issues that face our metropolitan areas. Trucks must operate in cities for commerce to exist and livelihoods to be maintained, but it cannot be acceptable that they cause damage to the environment they operate in and harm to the people around them. Unlike today’s large trucks that dominate their surroundings, by design, the Volta Zero supports the driver with the broadest visibility and latest safety technology, as well as a comfortable and easy-to-use working environment in the cab. This all ensures that the Volta Zero will operate cleanly and safely in the world’s city centers, happily coexisting and operating alongside all other road users.”
About the Volta Zero
The Volta Zero is the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne vehicle designed for inner-city freight deliveries, reducing the environmental impact of freight deliveries in city centers. Designed from the ground up with an operating pure-electric range of 150-200 kms (95–125 mi.), the Volta Zero will eliminate an estimated 180,000 tonnes of CO2 from city center atmospheres by 2025.
The first prototype Volta Zero is currently being built, and will be launched later in 2020, with the first pilot test vehicles due to start evaluation with customers in Q1-2021.