European electric commercial vehicle start up, Volta Trucks, has announced it has started engineering evaluation and development testing of the first prototype Volta Zero, an all-electric commercial truck designed for inner city logistics, in the United Kingdom.
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, Volta officials said in a press release.
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 over the coming months. The forthcoming test and development program with this and later-specification prototypes also 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 key customers who have signed up for both testing and the option to purchase series production trucks. Full-scale production of customer-specification vehicles will then follow at the end of 2022.
“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,” Chief Product Officer of Volta Trucks Ian Collins said. “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 program, 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.”