Volta Trucks will launch its first all-electric LGV on a ‘truck as a service’ (TaaS) model rather than capital purchase.
The company, which claims the total cost of ownership on the 16-tonne Volta Zero model is around 95% of a diesel equivalent, will bundle energy, insurance and maintenance into one monthly fee.
“This is the path of least resistance to facilitate uptake of electric trucks,” according to chief communications officer Duncan Forrester.
“The TaaS solution will be via our partner Siemens for the charging infrastructure.”
Forrester’s TCO comparison is based on seven-year operating cycle for diesel and 10-years for the electric Volta, both at 40,000 km per year (almost 25,000 miles). “We expect electric to have longer ownership periods because the fewer moving parts means it will last longer and cost less for maintenance,” he added.
Volta has gained substantial experience with 700 prototypes trialled by customers across Europe. In the UK, customer trials will begin in mid-2022 ahead of a full production launch by the end of the year.
The 16-tonne truck will be followed by a 19-tonne model in 2023, plus 12-tonne and 7.5-tonne vehicles in 2024. Range will be 150-200km (94-124 miles) fully laden and refrigerated, with payload of 8.6 tonnes and capacity for 16 Euro pallets. Ambient and refrigeration are options.
“The purpose of Volta is to offer solutions for inner city and last mile distribution,” said Forrester.
The truck has been designed to minimise damage to the environment. In addition to being battery powered – the batteries are positioned between the chassis rails, “the safest place to put them” – the panels are made from flax and biodegradation resin composite.
“This isn’t just about the tailpipe, it’s about the holistic carbon footprint of the company,” said Forrester.
Volta Trucks has built a pre-order bank exceeding 2,500 across Europe, with 90% in France where the legislative framework incentivises uptake. Globally, it is targeting 27,000 units from the four models, with Europe the primary market.
“We see enormous potential in the UK – London and Paris will be the introductory markets,” Forrester said.
Volta Trucks have cameras instead of wing mirrors, while reversing is made easier thanks to 360-degree bird’s eye cameras. They feature a central driver seat positioned in a low cab, intended to improve visibility by removing all blind spots. It also means drivers can safely exit the cab on the pavement via a low step to the kerb.
“A big issue is ankle and knee problems from drivers jumping in and out of the cab on multiple drops. We think the design will help with the recruitment and retention of drivers because it provides them with a premium working environment,” said Forrester. “We have found that the central driving position becomes intuitive very quickly.”