I just saw the news that Volta Trucks was rolling its Volta Zero around Spain for Show & Tell and it seemed like I’ve seen a number of announcements from the startup lately so I checked through the latest press releases. It was more there than I realized, and the news basically fell into a few different buckets.
Volta Show & Tell
First there were some tours through some important European countries – Spain and France. These are part of the wider Volta Zero European Tour from Volta. It’s as expected, but fun and important nonetheless – Volta meets with potential customers to show them the Volta Zero. Before arriving in Spain this week, the Volta Zero was in France, where, according to Volta, “more than 300 individual vehicle demonstrations” have taken place in the past 5 weeks.
In the virtual world, Volta Trucks launched a new and improved website a few weeks ago.
Volta Zero Powertrain
Then there’s the drivetrain news. Volta announced that it has selected Meritor to supply an “innovative electric axle”, the eAxle. “This agreement is an important milestone that will enable the delivery of Volta Zero vehicles for customer testing in 2021. Series production is expected to begin approximately 12 months later,” wrote in February.
“The Volta Zero will be the first fully electric large commercial vehicle in Europe to use the eAxle, an innovative electric axle that drives the rear wheels. Meritor supplies the complete unit with electric motor, gearbox and rear axle of the Volta Zero, which is equipped with the integrated Blue HorizionTM 14XeTM ePowertrain electric motor. The fully integrated all-electric 14Xe drivetrain for commercial and heavy-duty vehicles is lighter and more efficient than a conventional electric motor and axle, resulting in a greater range of the vehicle. It also has the advantage that space is freed up between the cross members of the chassis, thus creating the safest place to accommodate the vehicle batteries. “
You can also read an interview with the chief engineer of the Volta Zero powertrain here.
Last month it was also announced that Volta will be sourcing the battery for its electric vehicles from Proterra. Interestingly, this is Proterra’s first foray into Europe, previously focusing solely on the US and Canada. “The Volta Zero is the first 100% electric 16-ton electric vehicle specifically designed for the delivery of goods in city centers,” writes Volta. “This important order completes the strategic delivery of the electric powertrain from Volta Trucks. Customer tests for Volta Zero vehicles are planned for this year, and tens of thousands of trucks are expected to hit the road soon after the start of series production, which is slated to take place 12 months later. “
“With the battery provided by Proterra, the Volta Zero has a range of 200 km on a single charge. This capacity is more than sufficient for most inner city delivery vehicles, which drive most of the time in slow traffic and traffic jams. Proterra batteries offer excellent energy density and a customizable design that allows the Volta Zero’s battery to be placed between the chassis cross members – the safest place in terms of design. “
“The Proterra battery is designed to withstand over 4000 charge cycles over a period of 10 years without significant deterioration in order to guarantee the life of the vehicle.”
Volta customer partnerships
Then there are all “partnerships”. Basically, a handful of companies (or more than a handful) have agreed to test the Volta Zero in initial pilot programs and potentially buy a lot more if things go as advertised.
This includes Urby, “a subsidiary of the La Poste group and the Banque des Territoires”. Urby is a French company that was likely included on the Show & Tell tour mentioned above. “Urby was founded in 19 French cities and offers solutions for the delivery and collection of goods in the city, as well as for the storage and collection of waste and packaging.”
It has also partnered with Swoopin, a “global provider of sustainable transportation and city logistics services,” who will test the Volta Zero in France, Belgium and Italy in 2021. “We have worked in the past to make all of our delivery processes more environmentally friendly for six years. Thanks to Volta Trucks, we can now apply our strategy to this last segment of our internal strategy. The Volta Zero will supply our 60 urban hubs in France, Belgium and Italy for our e-commerce activities on a daily basis. We will finally be able to supply almost everyone in Europe on the next day in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner, ”said Nicolas Spielmann, Swoopin’s Chief Operations Officer.
In January, Volta Trucks teamed up with F&G Transport, a pallet distribution company, to try all-electric pallet distribution. F&G Transport aims to convert its entire fleet to electric vehicles and this is one of the first notable steps in that direction. This follows the conversion of 80% of the forklifts to battery power and the 100% renewal of the energy supply. However, this is the company’s first step towards fully electric commercial vehicles. Kudos to Volta for the contract. It is clear that with the Volta Zero, Volta does a good job both in marketing and in impressing potential customers.
“We found the Volta Zero Pioneer program to be ideal for our needs for our pallet distribution network, particularly in terms of safety, distance and weight capacity,” said Emma Lindsley, General Manager of F&G Transport. “We are very pleased about the start of the trials and hope that the shared vision of Volta Trucks and F & G Transport will be very successful and lead to a partnership with which we can achieve our goal of getting the entire fleet up as quickly as possible Complete electrification can be converted. “
Also in January, Volta Trucks entered into a partnership with VPD Transport and Logistics in Belux. VPD continues a trend and is an established logistics company that will take its first steps into commercial heavy goods transport with Volta. “VPD Transport and Logistics already operates over 100 vehicles, from trucks to cargo bikes. However, the Volta Zero is the first fully electric large commercial vehicle to go into service, ”the company wrote.
“With over 50 years of experience and more than 150 employees, VPD Transport and Logistics offers pick-up and fulfillment services for well-known names such as IKEA, Media Markt, Whirlpool, Haier, EasyKit and Meubella. The multi-hub network operates in Ghent, Antwerp, Luik, Zellik, Zonhoven and Luxembourg. “
As I said, Volta is on the move.
Additionally, in January Volta completed a $ 20 million fundraiser with New York based investor Luxor Capital Group LP and achieved a combined backlog of $ 260 million.
All images courtesy of Volta Trucks unless otherwise noted.
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