DB Schenker, one of the world’s leading logistics service providers, and full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer Volta Trucks have confirmed an intensive partnership and pre-order of nearly 1,500 full-electric Volta Zero vehicles.
This is the most significant order for large zero-emission trucks in Europe to date.
It is said that the large-scale partnership with Volta Trucks will allows DB-Schenker to significantly increase the pace of electrification of their fleet and invest in greener transport solutions, brings the company closer to their goal of carbon neutral logistics.
As part of the partnership, DB Schenker will use the first prototype of Volta Zero Trucks in real distribution conditions in spring and summer of 2022.
The findings from these tests will be incorporated into the serial production of 1,470 vehicles built at Volta Trucks’ new contract manufacturing facility in Steyr, Austria.
The full-electric 16-tonne Volta Zero is used in DB Schenker’s European terminals to transport goods from distribution hubs to the city centres and urban areas.
This is where the vehicle’s innovative design, safety-oriented cab to protect vulnerable road users, and zero-emission drivetrain offer the greatest benefits. Together, DB Schenker and Volta Trucks will explore the potential uses of the technology to potentially expand the offering. The rollout will begin at 10 locations in 5 countries.
The partnership will also jointly develop specifications for the previously announced 12-tonne Volta Zero variant, conducting site testing to accelerate vehicle deployment of vehicles, and train drivers.
The Volta Zero is the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne vehicle designed specifically for inner-city logistics, reducing the environmental impact of freight deliveries in urban centres.
Designed from the ground up with a pure-electric range of 150 to 200 km, the Volta Zero will eliminate an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 by 2025.
Safety is also at the heart of Volta Trucks, with its ambition of producing the safest trucks for our cities. The Volta Zero was designed for electric from the outset, which facilitates a step change in vehicle, driver and pedestrian safety.
Thanks to the removal of the internal combustion engine, the operator of a Volta Zero sits in a central driving position with a much lower seat height than a conventional truck.
This combination, along with the glasshouse-style cabin design, provides the driver with a wide 220-degree field of visibility, minimising dangerous blind spots.
The prototype Volta Zero was launched in September 2020, and the first vehicles are expected to be operating with customers in mid-2022.
Volta Trucks recently announced that production has finally started for the first road-going ‘Design Verification’ (DV) electric truck prototype, Volta Zero, at the company’s bespoke facility in Coventry, UK.
The prototypes are the first full-electric Volta Zero vehicles to be built in the recently unveiled production-ready design.
A total of 25 vehicles will be manufactured and once completed in January, the fleet will embark on a rigorous testing regime.
This will involve Volta Trucks engineers replicating a wide range of customer usage and delivery cycles, as well as taking the Volta Zero to the extremes of cold weather environments in the Arctic, hot weathers in equatorial conditions, and crash testing, all to validate the safety, durability, and reliability of the vehicle.
The results of the comprehensive DV testing programme will be fed into the final prototype stage – ‘Production Verification’ (PV).
The PV prototype vehicles will be built at the company’s new manufacturing plant in Steyr, Austria, in mid-2022.
Many of these production-specification prototypes will be lent to selected customers for extended periods to be tested in their real-world logistics conditions, undertaking millions of delivery kilometres, alongside Volta Trucks’ own engineers.
The Volta Zero is the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne vehicle designed for inner-city logistics, reducing the environmental impact of freight deliveries in city centres.
Designed from the ground up with an operating pure-electric range of 150 – 200 km, the Volta Zero will eliminate an estimated 1.2M tonnes of CO2 by 2025.
Safety is also at the heart of Volta Trucks, with its ambition of producing the safest trucks for our cities.
The Volta Zero was designed for electric from the outset, which facilitates a step-change in vehicle, driver and pedestrian safety.
Thanks to the removal of the internal combustion engine, the operator of a Volta Zero sits in a central driving position, with a much lower seat height than a conventional truck.
This combination, plus a glass house-style cab design, gives the driver a wide 220-degree visibility, minimising dangerous blind spots.
The prototype Volta Zero was launched in September 2020, with the first vehicles expected to be operating with customers in mid-2022.
Electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services provider Volta Trucks has confirmed that the first Volta Zero vehicles will be manufactured in Steyr, Austria, by Steyr Automotive, formerly MAN Truck and Bus Austria.
The announcement follows a wide-ranging competitive tender process with potential suppliers throughout Europe.
Steyr Automotive were appointed based on their extensive experience of commercial vehicle manufacturing, existing manufacturing infrastructure and consequent speed to market.
This will allow Volta Trucks to confidently start series production in late 2022, following customer trials of Pilot Fleet vehicles that will commence mid-next year.
The announcement to partner with Steyr Automotive provides Volta Trucks with more than 100 years of manufacturing experience building large commercial vehicles.
Over time, the contract will create up to 500 jobs in the region in addition to an estimated 2000 positions within the supply chain.
The confirmation of the manufacturing partner forms an integral part of the Volta Trucks Road-to-Zero Emissions strategy, released in May 2021.
The strategy sees four Volta Zero models ranging from 7.5 to 19 tonnes, with more than 27,000 units built per year by 2025.
The Road-to-Zero Emissions strategy also confirmed that Volta Trucks planned to manufacture vehicles close to the markets in which they will be sold, reducing the environmental footprint of vehicle distribution.
With London and Paris identified as the initial launch cities, and a Europe-first city-specific roll out strategy, the plant in Austria is perfectly situated close to the initial markets, supporting the accelerated roll-out of full-electric commercial vehicles to customers.
The Road-to-Zero Emissions strategy also confirmed the company’s planned market expansion across Europe followed by North American and Asian markets. Additional global manufacturing plants are also already under consideration.
Confirming the announcement, co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Volta Trucks, Kjell Waloen, said, “The partnership with Steyr Automotive marks a significant milestone for Volta Trucks, and one of the important milestones ahead of us starting to build full electric trucks by the end of 2022.”
“The team at Steyr Automotive has demonstrable capability to manufacture the Volta Zero with decades of previous premium truck-building experience.”
“Building our trucks in Austria, in the heart of our European launch region, will accelerate our time to market and minimise the environmental footprint of our operations, supporting our sustainability ambitions – a key factor in our decision-making process.”
“The partnership will now allow Volta Trucks to quickly ramp up our production as we look to meet the demands of our customers who need to replace their fleets with zero emission vehicles as soon as possible.”
Volta Trucks has confirmed the start of engineering evaluation and development testing of the first Volta Zero prototype in Nuneaton, UK.
The start of testing follows soon after the reveal of the first prototype chassis of the Volta Zero – the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner city logistics.
Volta Minus One
Affectionately named ‘Volta Minus One’ by development engineers, as the forerunner to the production-specification Volta Zero, the prototype vehicle uses the proposed production specification chassis frame and drivetrain of the finished vehicle and will test all the electro-mechanical and thermal properties of the truck.
This includes the high-voltage battery supplied by Proterra, and the compact rear axle, electric motor and transmission eAxle unit from Meritor.
The unconventional bodywork of the prototype is purely designed to protect the development driver from the elements when the vehicle is moving at speed.
The production vehicle will feature a cargo box design, but the prototype uses a flatbed to allow engineers to add different levels and locations of loads to test its weight carrying capacity.
The prototype Volta Zero will continue testing at HORIBA MIRA over the coming months. The forthcoming test and development programme with this and later-specification prototypes also includes periods of cold weather testing north of the Arctic Circle, and hot weather testing in southern Europe.
The comprehensive programme will ensure that the production-specification Volta Zero vehicles deliver the durability and reliability expected by fleet operators and vehicle owners.
These learnings will be taken into the production of Pilot Fleet vehicles that will be tested and evaluated by key customers who have signed up for both testing and the option to purchase series production trucks.
This is designed to develop their understanding of how the Volta Zero will integrate into their operations. Full-scale production of customer-specification vehicles will then follow at the end of 2022.
Chief Product Officer of Volta Trucks, Ian Collins, said, “The start of testing and evaluation of the first prototype Volta Zero is a major milestone on our journey towards production, and an exciting time for all of the Volta Trucks team and our customers.”
In just eight months
“To have achieved this landmark moment in just eight months is a great example of the nimble and agile approach we have at Volta Trucks. We work at high pace to ensure that we can bring zero emission, full-electric commercial vehicles to market quickly, because our customers require vehicles as soon as possible.”
“We need to go through a comprehensive and thorough development programme, but the start of prototype testing is evidence that we are on track to deliver production vehicles, on time, by the end of next year.”
Volta Trucks has confirmed the appointment of CPC Group, Europe’s largest composite manufacturing company, to develop and supply the sustainable and recyclable composite exterior body panels for the Volta Zero.
The Volta Zero is the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner city logistics.
Sustainability is at the heart of the Volta Trucks brand, and this extends well beyond the removal of tailpipe emissions and into the sustainability of the vehicle’s supply chain and material selection.
When the Volta Zero was launched in September 2020, it was the first commercial vehicle to use sustainably-sourced flax and biodegradable resin composite panels.
The fully natural, lightweight, high-performance fibre material is almost CO2 neutral over its lifecycle, and matches the stiffness and weight of carbon fibre but uses 75% less CO2 to produce.
Volta Trucks will work with CPC Group to develop and industrialise these new and innovative, sustainable and recyclable composite materials to the significant volumes needed to deliver on the company’s long-term sales ambitions.
Full-scale production of customer-specification vehicles will commence at the end of 2022 using state-of-the-art composite materials throughout the body & trim of the vehicle.
Production will start with the first iteration of composite, with a series of future developments in sustainable composite materials forming part of the company’s long-term road map that’s being developed with its key supply chain and material development partners.
Spearheading the rapid change
Announcing the partnership with CPC Group, Founder and Executive Chairman of Volta Trucks, Carl-Magnus Norden, said;“Sustainability is a cornerstone of our company’s purpose because saving the planet cannot wait. It must happen now, and Volta Trucks wants to spearhead the rapid change in large commercial vehicles.”
“Our innovative full-electric powetrain will remove harmful exhaust emissions, reducing climate change and improving inner-city air quality. But for Volta Trucks, sustainability is much more than just tailpipe emissions.”
World’s most sustainable truck maker
We take an environmental-first approach to all material sourcing to deliver on our mission of becoming the world’s most sustainable commercial vehicle manufacturer.”
Chief Executive Officer of CPC Srl, Franco Iorio, mentioned; “Volta Trucks will change the mobility of vehicles within the world and I am personally glad to dedicate a considerable share of our new company capacity for this project. By 2023, CPC will have the biggest composite capacity within Europe, not only in terms of pressing but also for final machining, bonding and painting, and Volta Trucks will be an important part of the strategy.”