Volta Trucks is planning its entry into the North American market, the European full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services provider announced, which aims to have the first Volta Zero vehicles operating in Los Angeles by the end of next year.
The introduction of Volta Trucks’ battery electric commercial vehicles into North America will be led in 2023 by a Volta Zero Class 7 truck, which is equivalent to the existing European 16-ton truck, with a dry or refrigerated cargo box, the company said. The Volta Zero is a purpose-built truck specifically designed for urban logistics. The design of the Volta Zero uses a compact eAxle, comprising the electric motor, transmission and axle all in one unit, supplied by Michigan-based Meritor, and high-voltage batteries located within the chassis rails from California-based Proterra.
Volta Trucks will initially introduce a Pilot Fleet of 100 Class 7 trucks in mid-2023 that will be evaluated by US customers in mid-2023, ahead of a rollout of production vehicles in 2024, the company said. To date, Volta Trucks has built 24 road-going ‘Design Verification’ prototypes which are currently undergoing a testing program in Europe. Ahead of the introduction in North America, the company expects to have already built more than 1,500 full-electric Class 7 trucks for European customers.
As a vehicle specifically designed for urban logistics, the Class 7 Volta Zero will offer a modular battery configuration to deliver a range of 95 to 125 miles. The vehicle is designed to accept both AC and DC 250 kW fast charging, which delivers a full charge from empty in just over an hour. Alternatively, one hour of 19 kW AC standard charging will add around 12 miles of driving range.
The 33,000 lbs. Class 7 Volta Zero introduction will be followed by a Class 5 vehicle of 19,500 lbs., and a Class 6 truck of 26,000 lbs., equivalent to the European 7.5- and 12-ton vehicles, in 2024/2025, the company said.
Class 5 and 6 Volta Zeros, revealed in April 2022, will bear a close visual relationship to the Class 7 vehicle. All Volta Zeros benefit from the same world-class safety standards of the Class 7 vehicle, as well as its zero-emission powertrain, eliminating not only CO2 emissions but also harmful particulates that cause local air quality and health issues. The Class 5 and 6 trucks will be identical to each other from the front, with the Class 6 vehicle having a longer chassis and body, and second set of rear wheels and tyres, to accommodate the increased vehicle payload.
The company is also exploring a US-based manufacturing with a partner, with agreements expected later in 2022. The first Class 7 vehicles delivered to the US will be built at the company’s existing contract manufacturing facility in Steyr, Austria, to ensure the quality of the first US vehicles, with all Class 5 and 6 vehicles for North America expected to be built in the US, starting in 2024-2025.