Volta Trucks is trying to take a different approach to cargo vehicles in cities. Starting in 2017, with grand plans to revolutionize safety and environmental technology for trucks, the company has had a long journey to delivery.
The Swedish EV startup’s vehicle, the Volta Zero, is an all-electric commercial cargo vehicle designed for city-center freight deliveries. The 16-tonne vehicle was officially launched in September 2020 and is now available in 7.5-ton and 12-ton models.
The Volta Zero is designed with safety and emissions in mind, featuring easy low entry and exit on both sides directly onto the pavement, as well as a premium working environment for drivers. It also has a single electric motor and transmission contained in a lightweight and compact e-axle unit driving the rear wheels.
In addition to its impressive promised safety features, the Volta Zero has zero emissions, making it an ideal choice for sustainable cities looking to reduce their carbon footprint. With its advanced technology, it promises to revolutionize urban delivery trucks and make roads safer for everyone, including the people who only share the air with them.
But that’s not the only thing that could set the company apart. It’s also trying to offer a simplified ownership experience with its innovative Trucks as a Service program. The program offers businesses and individuals access to zero-tailpipe emission electric trucks, allowing them to reduce their carbon footprint while still getting the job done. With Volta’s Trucks as a Service program, customers can choose from a variety of vehicles, including class-7 all-electric trucks that are capable of up to 125 miles per charge.
They go beyond vehicles. The company also provides charging stations for customers who need to refuel their vehicles on the go. Additionally, Volta offers maintenance and repair services for its trucks, ensuring that customers have reliable transportation when they need it most. With Volta’s Trucks as a Service program, businesses and individuals can enjoy the benefits of electric trucking without having to invest in expensive equipment or worry about costly repairs.
In other words, they’re trying to build an end-to-end truck and cargo experience and not just sell vehicles.
But getting people to sign up for buying, leasing, or getting the whole Trucks as a Service she-bang is going to require more than just prototypes, renders, and promises. To make it real for potential customers, Volta Trucks plans on a “Driving Experience Programme,” where people will have the opportunity to get a taste of the all-electric Volta Zero. The program allows you to test drive the vehicle in your own urban environment, giving you a first-hand experience of its capabilities.
The program is designed to revolutionize the driver’s experience with the Volta Zero’s 360-degree visibility, advanced safety features, and low noise levels. It also offers fleet operators an opportunity to evaluate a Pilot Fleet of Volta Zeros in real distribution scenarios. The Driving Experience Program will begin on the west coast in late 2023, followed by scaled US production.
But, to do that, Volta needs to build some trucks, and a new partnership with EAVX will help do just that. In collaboration with EAVX, a subsidiary of J.B. Poindexter & Co., Inc. (JBPCO) that dominates North America’s commercial vehicle body industry, the truck bodies for the forthcoming Pilot Fleet will be constructed, allowing butts to get into actual seats.
EAVX will leverage JBPCO’s unrivaled market expertise to spearhead the creation, prototyping, and manufacturing of bespoke bodies and upfits for the Volta Zero Pilot Fleet. Possessing substantial experience in producing, tooling, and engineering high-quality truck bodies for electric commercial vehicles, EAVX recognizes the necessity of accurately integrating the truck bodies with the distinctive frame design, ensuring battery safety and accessibility without adding extra weight.
“We are delighted to be partnering with EAVX to bring our Pilot Fleet of electric trucks to the US market. EAVX has a proven track record of designing and engineering innovative mobility solutions and we believe their expertise will be invaluable in creating the optimal cargo body for our trucks,” said Essa Al-Saleh, Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks. “We will take the steps now to ensure the flexibility of our vehicle offering and in turn, meet wider US customer demand, all ensuring the Volta Zero is a stand-out proposition for the important US market.”
By integrating the sophisticated technology and innovative design of the Volta Zero with EAVX’s state-of-the-art engineering expertise, Volta Trucks aims to deliver an unparalleled sustainable, secure, and efficient solution for urban delivery fleets in the US. The Volta Zero Pilot Fleet, equipped with EAVX bodies and technology, is anticipated to debut on US roads as part of the Driving Experience Programme in late 2023.
The US Driving Experience Programme will be introduced for fleet operators to assess a Pilot Fleet of Volta Zeros in real-world distribution settings, enabling them to gauge how the electric delivery trucks will fit into their operations. A comparable program is currently being launched across six European countries. The US initiative will commence on the West Coast, with the deployment of production vehicles expected in 2024.
When the company hits production and has customers, it will be far from alone in its field, so it’s a fierce competition where every bit of quality and service will count. After all, Volta Trucks be competing with big players like GM’s Brightdrop and Ford Pro, along with smaller players like Rivian.
Like Volta, these other players are also trying to reach out beyond just truck and van sales. For example, Brightdrop’s Ultium-platform vans are tied to other software and products in an ecosystem meant to reduce costs, maximize productivity, and improve efficiency. They even offer little robo-carts to help deliver items!
So, we can expect this competitive space to be one where companies are trying to deliver a lot more than their competitors in interesting and new ways that go a lot deeper than delivering a van to those who deliver products and services in our cities.
Volta will be an interesting company to watch as the industry moves in these new directions!
Featured image provided by Volta Trucks.
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