The Volta Zero is designed for last-mile delivery. - Photo: Volta Trucks

The Volta Zero is designed for last-mile delivery.

Photo: Volta Trucks

A full-electric commercial vehicle startup is accelerating its “Road to Zero Emissions” strategy following the success of its first product and has its eyes on the North American market as well.

Volta Trucks, which has offices in Sweden, France and the UK, launched the Volta Zero last September, a purpose-built, full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed for inner-city last mile deliveries.

The demand has prompted it to launch three additional variants. Its initial launch markets were London and Paris launch markets, but it has already gone beyond them. At the end of 2020, Volta Trucks announced what it said was believed to be Europe’s single largest purchase of full-electric large commercial vehicles with the sale of 1,000 Volta Zeros to Petit Forestier, Europe’s largest refrigerated commercial rental fleet.

So Volta is accelerating its plans, launching four full-electric commercial vehicles, multiple manufacturing facilities, and targeting over 27,000 vehicle sales per year across expanded markets.

The company said it is pursuing a Europe-first strategy, followed by U.S. and Asian cities. The Volta Zero was initially launched in the UK and France and is currently in Spain for a tailored roadshow with customers. Afterwards, it will be presented in Germany and North America over the summer, with other European markets including Netherlands, Italy, and Belgium to be confirmed by year end.

Asked for more details about the U.S. market, a Volta spokesperson replied that the company is hoping to bring a prototype to the U.S. this summer to share with fleet owners, press and investors.

While that truck is a working prototype, there is an issue importing vehicles with batteries, so the current plan is to remove the battery and just show the truck as a static display.

The plan is for a Europe-first strategy, followed by North America "a year or so later."

Volta Zero models will be available in 7.5-tonne, 12-tonne, 16-tonne and 19-tonne weight categories.

More About the Volta Zero

The 16-tonne Volta Zero will be the first vehicle delivered, with pilot fleet trucks built by the end of 2021, and series production starting around 12 months afterwards. This vehicle is currently in the engineering development phase, with early prototype testing due to start shortly.

Production of the 16-tonne vehicle will be closely followed by the largest 19-tonne and mid-size 12-tonne variants in 2023.

A pilot fleet of the smaller 7.5-tonne vehicles is expected to be launched for customer trials in the same year, with production starting in late 2024. These later vehicles are currently in the early design development phase.

All trucks will adopt the innovative low-seat central driving position with a glasshouse-style cab. This offers 220-degrees of visibility to maximize visual communication between the driver and vulnerable road users around the vehicle, according to the company.

Volta Trucks also offers a Truck as a Service proposition, offering a single, affordable, monthly fee providing access to a full-electric Volta Zero, and all of its servicing, maintenance, insurance and training requirements.

“When we launched the Volta Zero, we’d expected to be selling 5,000 vehicles a year with a single model by 2025,” said Essa Al-Saleh, chief executive officer of Volta Trucks. “Given our pace of development, driven by customer demand, we clearly see the opportunity to expand the Volta Zero into a portfolio of vehicles to offer customers a wider selection of full-electric vehicle sizes, and to accelerate the change to zero emissions. This leads us to far more ambitious sales expectations, with more than five times the number of vehicles now expected to be built compared to our original proposal.”

Volta is projecting more than 27,000 vehicles sold per year by 2025.

The company is investigating manufacturing Volta Zeros in Barcelona, Spain, and is also investigating several other facilities in Europe, Asia and North America.

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