Carla Detrieux is young and passionate about the world we live in and how it can be made better for future generations. After working in the hospitality industry she decided to make a big change, not only moving countries but changed her career path moving into the world of sustainable emobility. Detrieux is now the head of business development at Volta Trucks, who are a start-up fully-electric goods vehicle manufacturer and services company. The Swedish firm launched its forward-thinking zero-emissions truck to the world back in September.
EDs: Tell us about your life and interest in sustainability?
CD: The truth is I am passionate and quiet. I love finding business opportunities and networking. I hate to admit that I live up to the strong French stereotype and feel emotionally attached to my country. I realise my interest in sustainability has shifted to my daily efforts to make it become a way of living and thinking, being conscious of what I purchase and consume, and how I consume it.
EDs: Why did you change from the hospitality industry to sustainable mobility?
CD: I moved countries and changed my lifestyle to challenge myself and grow as a professional and an individual. I moved from hospitality to green mobility. My personal commitment to make a change has grown and is the core sentiment of everything I do. Someone said to me that we grow and learn when we’re out of our comfort zone. Now that makes absolute sense. I encourage anyone who reads this to take the challenge.
EDs: Do you think that the new sustainable trucks sector is an exciting space for more women to work in?
CD: Yes. At Volta Trucks we are doing everything we can to attract more women across all levels and departments of the business. Also, with our focus on driving experience and safety, we expect to facilitate the recruitment, working conditions and wellbeing of drivers. Our customers are also committed to changing the face of logistics.
EDs: As someone under 30 years-of-age, do you think sustainability is important to younger professionals?
CD: I am sure we all feel upset and accountable for the impact we have on the planet. I think all generations’ responsibility is to stop feeling sorry and start taking action for ourselves and future generations. It is a challenge that should be at the core of education. That goes from ideology to key performance indicators as students become professionals and entrepreneurs. It is refreshing to work with businesses of all sizes and individuals of all generations that share this vision. It is comforting to see policy and incentives progressing everywhere around the world, and observe a wide range of solutions and innovations coming to the market place to supply business-to-business and business-to-customers customers. The exciting thing, for me, is that Volta Trucks is right at the centre of these changes.
EDs: What excites you about helping Volta Trucks’ customers make the change to electric trucks?
CD: Firstly, I am very proud of Volta Trucks’ mission that I am promoting. Then, from my high-end hospitality experience, one of the values that is important to me is guest orientation. This is so aligned with the Volta Trucks’ vision. Customers and people are at the centre of everything we do. Finally, one other thing I have kept is the appetite for an intense and fast-moving work environment. Few areas are moving quicker than start-ups in green tech at the moment.
EDs: Where do you see the future of truck fleets?
CD: Subscription-based and Truck as a Service (TaaS) models are the way forward. Volta Trucks is championing this which is exciting. I see heightened levels of service and local agility being key for our customers. Also, data gathering and hardware management systems are essential to managing change and give total confidence and efficiency optimisation to fleet managers. I can’t wait until we officially release this exciting new tool for customers, and demonstrate how attractive our TaaS offer is.
EDs: What do you discuss in your conversations with Volta Trucks’ customers?
CD: Understandably, conversations gravitate around real conditions performance and the commercial viability of electrification. The logistics sector, given the current climate, has been put under pressure and many of our customers have had to adapt, compensate, integrate networks and diversify their business model. The COVID crisis has highlighted the adaptability of fleet operators, the impact of transport for air quality, and the importance of the supply chain and HGVs for our communities. Given the conclusions governments are publicly making today, electrification becomes the obvious and viable next step for our customers, specifically for their urban operations.
EDs: What are some of the most exciting things you’ve learnt that can help support people in the transition to a battery electric truck?
CD: With Volta Trucks, as a company and a team, I am lucky to learn every day and be involved in conversations around design, engineering, policies, financial models and many other aspects of the emobility sector. I seek to have a global approach and knowledge so that I can support our customers as much as I possibly can. We have a strong group of people who are so passionate, and as experts, we can always learn and share. To answer the question in simple terms, the most exciting thing for me is that Volta Zero fights climate change and, at the same time, helps our customers make significant operational savings.