Volta Trucks, a leading and disruptive fully-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services provider, has started production of the first road-going ‘Design Verification’ (DV) prototype Volta Zero electric vehicle (EV). This is the world’s first purpose-built fully-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle specifically created for inner-city logistics.
While Volta worked with Oxfordshire-based Prodrive to develop the electric powertrain driving the Volta Zero, the DV prototype Volta Zero will be built at a bespoke facility in Coventry, UK.
These prototypes are the first fully-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.
Testing will involve Volta Trucks engineers replicating a wide range of customer usage and delivery cycles. Plus, the company will be taking the Volta Zero to the extremes of cold weather environments in the Arctic, hot weather 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. This means they will undertake millions of delivery kilometres, alongside Volta Trucks’ own engineers.
Ian Collins, Volta Trucks chief product officer, said: “In August, the first Volta Zero rolling chassis started testing, and we’ve already extracted huge amounts of data from that vehicle. We have integrated that feedback into the Design Verification prototypes that start production today.
“We now move into a rapid test – learn – iterate – develop phase. This is going to be far more condensed and intensive than a normal vehicle testing programme, given our ambitious timeline to start series production in a year’s time, that is driven by customers’ needs for zero-emission trucks.
“This will take us to some of the hottest, coldest and most extreme conditions in the world, all to ensure that the production specification vehicles that roll off the production line by the end of 2022 deliver the highest possible quality standards and exceed our customers’ expectations.”