Banbury-based Prodrive Advanced Technology has helped Swedish-based startup Volta Trucks create the Volta Zero, which it says is the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle. The British company has worked through the Covid-19 lockdown to build the first vehicle to the original schedule.
Prodrive has worked with Volta Trucks and its partners Warwick-based design agency Astheimer and Sheffield-based Magtec, to integrate all the high voltage electrical, electronic and mechanical systems and assemble the finished vehicle at its headquarters in Banbury. The project was completed from a clean sheet to a fully running demonstrator vehicle in just 10 months.
The Volta Zero uses the removal of a traditional diesel engine mounted under the cab to create a radically new design with a centrally low-mounted seat giving the driver 220 degrees of visibility to optimise pedestrian and cyclist safety. As a result, the vehicle should deliver a Transport for London five-star Direct Vision Standard rating.
The Volta Zero uses an innovative e-axle for enchanced efficiency and range, the first European commercial vehicle operator to do so, giving a range of 150-200 km (95-125 miles) and a limited top speed of 90 kph (56 mph).
Volta Trucks’ partners: Prodrive, Astheimer and Magtec, are all British companies and it is Volta Trucks’ intention to manufacture the production vehicles in the UK, with pilot vehicle trials set to begin in the first half of next year.
The Volta Zero follows Prodrive’s recent work with Ford to create the world’s first plug-in hybrid Transit van, which went into full production at the end of 2019.
Kjell Waloen, co-founder of Volta Trucks, said: “We were originally recommended to use Prodrive Advanced Technology by an industry insider and I have been tremendously impressed with the way they have managed the project. Often programmes of this nature can slip, but even in spite of lockdown Prodrive has been able to deliver a fully functioning vehicle on time and within budget.”