At Freight in the City two years ago, Volta Trucks showed a drawing of its proposed 16-tonne Volta Zero delivery truck. This year the company was able to display a pre-production vehicle for the first time at the exhibition.
“We presented the concept and the principles behind Volta Zero two years ago. We brought along PowerPoint slides to show the world what we were thinking about and what we were going to be producing”, explains chief communications officer Duncan Forrester.
“Two years later, it’s great to be back in three dimensions in amongst customers, and be able to present the vehicle to them. The vehicle has been on a recent tour of the UK over the last couple of months, we’ve been to some really interesting shows, a real diversity of audiences to introduce the truck.”
After Freight In The City, the vehicle is due to head across the channel to go to the Netherlands, Luxembourg and back to France.
“We launched the truck on September 3rd 2020”, explains Forrester, “In that period of time, we’ve been on a tour of Europe, introducing the vehicle to a large number of customers in France, Spain, Germany Italy and the UK.”
Volta has racked up over 1,000 vehicle demonstrations in that time and now has around 2,500 pre-orders for the truck, worth over €600 million.
The vehicle will be built by Steyr Automotive in Austria and the first prototype vehicles are running at the MIRA test track near Nuneaton. “They are carrying out thermo-electrical work”, explains Forrester, “It doesn’t look like a truck, but the underpinnings and drivetrain of that truck are absolutely what we will bring into production.”
The first prototype is due to be completed before Christmas. This vehicle will go straight off for cold weather testing in Finland. This will be followed by around 25 prototype vehicles for engineering development and some will be used for customer assessments. After this Volta will build a product verification (PV) series in mid 2022 at Steyr to prove the manufacturing processes. Those vehicles will then be used for customer assessments too. The first series production model is due to roll off the production lines by the end of 2022.
“London and Paris are our two launch markets, London because of its long-standing approach to low-emission zones and the decarbonisation of the city centre”, says Forrester, “and Paris because they have taken arguably an even more aggressive to the de-carbonisation of the city centre.”
Paris and other French cities of more than 150,000 residents will face a ban of diesel-powered trucks from the end of 2023.