Volta Trucks Unveils North American Expansion Plans

Volta Trucks outlines its plans for bringing its battery-powered commercial vehicles to the North American market, starting with the naming of a U.S.-based manufacturing partner in late 2022. The Anglo-Swedish startup’s “Route to Zero Emissions” strategy also calls for:

  • Introduction of the Volta Zero Class 7 truck, equivalent to a European 16-ton vehicle, followed by Class 5 and Class 6 models similar to European 7.5- and 12-ton variants.
  • Evaluation of a pilot fleet of 100 Class 7 trucks by U.S. customers, starting in mid-2023 in Los Angeles ahead of the planned start of U.S. production in 2024.
  • Development of a network of service and maintenance facilities.

The Volta Zero is a purpose-built, medium-duty truck specifically designed for urban logistics and has a dry or refrigerated cargo box. Its compact eAxle, comprising the electric motor, transmission and axle all in one unit, is supplied by Michigan-based Meritor.

Batteries are supplied by California-based Proterra.  To date, Volta Trucks has built 24 road-going prototypes currently undergoing testing in Europe. Ahead of the North American rollout, the company expects to have built more than 1,500 all-electric Class 7 trucks for European customers. 

The Class 7 Volta Zero’s modular battery configuration will deliver a range of 95-125 miles (153-201 km). The truck is designed to accept both AC and DC 250-kW fast charging, which delivers a full charge from empty in just over an hour. One hour of 19-kW AC standard charging will add about 12 miles (19 km) of driving range, the company says. 

The Volta Zero is designed for safe operation in city traffic where commercial vehicles historically have been involved in a disproportionate number of accidents. Without the traditional internal-combustion engine, Volta Trucks worked with U.K.-based Astheimer Design to centrally mount and lower the driver’s seat in order to view pedestrians and cyclists at eye level. The glass house-style cab (pictured, below) offers a 220-degree view around the vehicle for the best possible visual awareness and blindspot reduction.

Volta Trucks

The Volta Zero’s central driving position also allows drivers to enter and exit the vehicle on either side, and through sliding rather than swinging doors, to also ensure the safety of passing cyclists. 

The 33,000-lb. (14,970-kg) Class 7 Volta Zero will be followed in 2024-2025 by the visually similar, 19,500-lb. (8,850-kg) Class 5 truck and 26,000-lb. (11,800-kg) Class 6 truck. The Class 6 truck will have a longer chassis and body, and a second set of rear wheels and tires, to accommodate heavier cargo. Agreements with U.S.-based manufacturing partners are to be completed later in 2022.

The first Class 7 vehicles delivered to the U.S. will be built at Volta Trucks’ existing contract manufacturing facility in Steyr, Austria, with all Class 5 and 6 vehicles for North America expected to be built in the U.S. starting in 2024-2025. “Since the launch of Volta Trucks in 2019 and the reveal of the Volta Zero in September 2020, we have used London, Paris and other European launch cities, where fleets are increasingly converting to electric, to prove that our concepts align to customers’ needs,” Volta Trucks founder Carl-Magnus Norden says in a news release. “With more than 6,000 vehicle pre-orders in hand from some of Europe’s largest fleet operators, it is time to expand our geographic horizons and look towards the significant market opportunity in North America.

I believe our full-electric truck will be perfectly suited to the U.S. customer’s needs,” Norden says.

Volta Trucks has about 6,000 battery-electric trucks on order in Europe and has a goal of selling more than 27,000 units per year by 2025, Green Car Congress has reported.