Electric truck start-up Volta Trucks has begun real-world testing of its Volta Zero 16-tonner.
The prototype chassis is undergoing engineering evaluation and development testing at HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton where engineers have dubbed the vehicle ‘Volta Minus One’. It uses the same production specification chassis and drivetrain of what will be the finished truck and is having its electro-mechanical systems and thermal properties assessed with specific focus on the Proterra high-voltage battery, electric motor and Meritor transmission eAxle unit.
Chief product officer of Volta Trucks, Ian Collins, said; “The start of testing and evaluation of the first prototype Volta Zero is a major milestone on our journey towards production. 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.”
Unlike the production model, the Volta Zero is being tested with a flatbed body, rather than the box body destined for the finished vehicle. Engineers will use the flatbed to add different test weights at various positions to evaluate its carrying capacity. The findings from the tests will then inform the production of the first pilot vehicles that will be put into service with key customers who have signed up for testing and the option to purchase production vehicles.
The prototype testing will last several months in Nuneaton and periods of cold weather testing, north of the Arctic Circle, and hot weather testing, in southern Europe, have also been scheduled.
Full-scale production of customer vehicles is expected to begin at the end of 2022.