Volta Trucks, the first manufacturer of fully electric commercial vehicles, has confirmed Urby’s membership of its Pioneer Programme. The programme will allow Urby to be one of the first customers to test drive the Volta Zero pilot fleet and will give Urby priority for production of the vehicle, scheduled to begin in late 2022.
The Volta Zero, which will have batteries supplied by Proterra, is the first large 100 percent electric commercial vehicle. Volta recently confirmed a successful funding round of $20 million as the order book for Volta Zero electric truck grew to $260 million. The Volta Zero is currently on tour in Paris at a series of high-profile customer and supplier events.
The news that Urby has joined the Pioneer programme coincides with the vehicle’s debut in France as part of a series of customer meetings.
Founded in 2018, Urby is a subsidiary of Le Groupe La Poste and Banque des Territoires. Operating in 19 French cities, Urby offers urban delivery and goods collection solutions, as well as storage and collection of waste and packaging.
To facilitate its operations, Urby has developed a territorial network to cover high-density urban areas, with sharing centres located on the outskirts of cities and urban logistics areas in city centres.
To date, Urby’s city centre delivery operations are carried out by a fleet of low-emission vehicles including light and heavy duty vehicles complying with Euro VI standards, both gas and electric, as well as cargo bikes. However, the Volta Zero will be their first experience of a large 100 percent electric commercial vehicle.
For this trial, Volta Trucks and Urby will also work in collaboration with Sogaris, the leading urban logistics real estate company in Greater Paris. Sogaris, owner of Urby’s distribution hub in the Ile de France region, will support Urby and Volta Trucks in the installation of the recharging infrastructure required to operate the Volta Zero for the trial.
Under the current legislative framework and the implementation of new Low Emission Zones, commercial vehicles with internal combustion engines will be banned in Paris and in French cities with more than 150,000 inhabitants from 2024. In this context, the speeding up of the electrification of vehicle fleets is of prime importance for French fleet managers.
Frederic Delaval, managing director of Urby, said: “Thanks to its large charging capacity and all-electric mode, the Volta Zero is a key partner in the innovative freight transport market. Believing that the future of delivery will be environmentally friendly, we are investing heavily in our fleet of low-emission vehicles – from cargo bikes with trailers, to trucks powered by natural gas, bio natural gas and electric energy.
“In addition, we believe in product circularity: when a vehicle delivers to an urban area, it should not leave empty but loaded with products or recycling. Testing the Volta Zero in a real-life situation allows us to contribute to this pioneering project and fully meet our sustainability ambitions.”
Sonia Samadi, director of development and Innovation at Sogaris, said: “Sogaris operates at the intersection of two spheres. That of real estate, challenged to invent a more resilient and sustainable model in response to environmental issues, and that of urban logistics, where the digital revolution, driven by the boom in e-commerce, is drastically transforming our relationship to the mobility of goods and our lifestyles. Against this backdrop, the energy transition of our customers in favour of low-carbon logistics is becoming a priority innovation issue.”
Rob Fowler, managing director of Volta Trucks, said: “I’m delighted to be teaming up with Urby, and to support its sustainable ‘decarbonisation’ programme. Urby is a perfect customer for the Volta Zero; its city centre logistics and distribution operations are exactly what the vehicle was designed to do. We also share common ambitions in terms of sustainability. I look forward to seeing the results of their tests later this year.”