EV Startup Volta Trucks Completes Extreme Winter Testing of its Volta Zero Electric Truck in the Arctic Circle

EV Startup Volta Trucks Completes Extreme Winter Testing of its Volta Zero Electric Truck in the Arctic Circle

Author: Eric Walz   

Electric truck startup Volta Trucks, which is developing zero-emission electric trucks for last-mile delivery, has just completed its brutal winter testing program for its first truck, the Volta Zero. 

The extreme cold weather testing was performed in the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden. It included a series of vehicle performance evaluations to ensure that the company's Volta Zero electric delivery truck will deliver the highest levels of reliability and durability for rigorous commercial use ahead of series production.

The fully-electric Volta Zero electric truck is designed for urban logistics, reducing the environmental impact of freight deliveries using diesel or gas-powered trucks in city centers in Europe. 

Much of the winter testing over the past few months focused on the truck's electric powertrain and battery performance in extreme cold. Over the winter, Volta Trucks engineers evaluated a wide variety of technical aspects of the vehicle in some of the world's harshest conditions, according to the company. 

The tests included pre-conditioning and thermal stability of the battery in extreme cold, interior thermal comfort for the driver, defrosting and defogging of the cabin, as well as traction with different levels of grip and cargo loads. All of the tests were performed in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius.

"The completion of our winter testing program is another major milestone in our journey towards the start of production of the Volta Zero," said Ian Collins, Chief Product Officer of Volta Trucks. "It's unlikely that customers in our launch markets of London and Paris will experience such conditions but we need to push the vehicle to the extremes to ensure we deliver the highest levels of quality and reliability from the very first customer vehicles produced."

The Volta Zero has 90% fewer mechanical parts than an equivalent internal combustion engine vehicle. Therefore Volta Trucks deliver a lower total cost of ownership than equivalent diesel-powered vehicles. It makes the Volta Zero an attractive option for fleet operators to add zero emissions vehicles to their fleets.

The Volta Zero was designed from the ground up by Volta with assistance from Proterra, a company that makes electric school buses, delivery trucks and shuttles. The 16-ton truck is powered by battery technology designed by Proterra. 

The standard 150 kWh battery in the Volta Zero incorporates advanced features such as active thermal management with liquid cooling for optimal charging and maximum battery life even in extreme conditions. Customers can also opt for a larger 225 kWh battery pack. 

The Volta Zero offers a range of 95 to 125 miles, which the company says is adequate to support daily deliveries in urban areas and city centers, where an average delivery truck travels around 75 miles a day. 

The Zero truck also features a unique interior design, with the driver sitting in the middle of the cab instead of on the left or right for a more commanding view of the road. The center driver seat design is similar to the interior of Tesla's upcoming semi truck. 

By removing the internal combustion engine, Volta was able to provide the driver with a much lower seat height than in a conventional truck, giving the operator a better view of their surroundings. Volta also adds a "glass house-style cab design" that provides the driver with 220-degrees of visibility that reduces the dangerous blind spots of conventional trucks.

Prototypes of the Volta Zero will be delivered to customers in mid-2022, while series production is due to start in late 2022 for early 2023 deliveries. 

In Nov 2021, Volta Trucks announced Europe's largest purchase of full-electric trucks from German logistics company DB Schenker, which ordered 1,470 electric vehicles from Volta. This followed refrigerated trucking company Petit Forestier's order of 1,000 Volta Zeros. 

In total, Volta Trucks said it has around 5,000 reservations for its vehicles, which are valued at around €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion).

In Sept 2021, Volta Trucks announced that Sibros, a Silicon Valley-based developer of a software-based connected vehicle architecture, will provide the software platform for the Volta Zero.

Sibros works with automakers to help optimize their fleets with its connected vehicle software platform. The technology can create new connected services with full vehicle OTA software updates, including data collection and remote diagnostics in a single ecosystem.

The Sibros platform for the Volt Zero includes OTA software update capability, remote diagnostics, remote logging and data collection as standard, to help shipping companies better manage their fleets of electric trucks.

Volta Trucks was co-founded  in 2017 by Carl-Magnus Norden and Kjell Waloen with the goal of decarbonizing last-mile logistics in city centers with zero emissions electric trucks.

The company is based in Stockholm, Sweden, with its engineering team based in the UK. The trucks are being built by Volta's manufacturing partner Steyr Automotive in Steyr, Austria. 

Volta Trucks also partnered with a number of global leaders in the supply chain for the development and production of the Volta Zero.

Last month, Volta announced it raised 230 million euros ($260 million) in a Series C funding round, which will finance it through the launch and series production of its Volta Zero electric urban delivery truck.

The company said that the funding round was led by New York City-based hedge fund Luxor Capital, which also led a separate $43.7 million investment round in Sept 2021.

The latest funding brings the total Volta Trucks has raised to around 300 million euros ($339 million).

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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