Automotive

Volta Trucks starts real-world testing of its all-electric cargo truck

Volta Trucks starts real-world...
Volta Trucks begun real-world testing of its all-electric cargo truck
Volta Trucks begun real-world testing of its all-electric cargo truck
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Volta Trucks begun real-world testing of its all-electric cargo truck
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Volta Trucks begun real-world testing of its all-electric cargo truck

After last year revealing an all-electric truck designed to move goods around cities, Volta Trucks has revealed that the 16-tonne cargo hauler has commenced real-world testing. A prototype built to production specifications is now undergoing on-road evaluations in the UK, ahead of full-scale production slated for 2022.

Volta first announced its Volta Zero electric truck in July last year, looking to provide logistics companies with a greener way of carrying out deliveries around cities. The first prototype was then revealed in September, with the company detailing an all-electric vehicle with a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph) and a range of 200 km (125 miles) per charge.

The prototype now undergoing testing in Nuneaton, UK, goes by the name of Volta Minus One and features the production specification chassis frame and drivetrain. The tests are designed to assess its electro-mechanical and thermal performance, including the battery supplied by Proterra. While a cargo box will be fitted to the production version, the prototype features a flatbed so engineers can test out different loads and its weight-bearing capacity.

This testing will take place over the coming months and will include phases in cold weather north of the Arctic Circle, along with hot weather testing in southern Europe. These tests will inform the production of the pilot fleet, which will be offered to key customers to carry out testing of their own, with full-scale production to then kick off in late 2020.

Source: Volta Trucks

4 comments
4 comments
Grunchy
YouTube critic “Adam Something” made some good points about why the Tesla semi truck is bound to be an “engineering failure” with an interesting (if simplistic) economics analysis, which tends to suggest all such vehicles are destined to become either vapor-ware or market failures.
https://youtu.be/w__a8EcM2jI
DaveWesely
Grunchy, with one comment, the visitor, Dan Robertson, laid waste to "Adam's" video on the Tesla semi. The idea that EVs are vaporware is ridiculous. They are faster, more spacious, almost the same price as an ICE vehicle, and easier to "refuel". It should be noted that the Volta truck is not a semi-trailer, but a straight truck, and therefore more commonly used for short run deliveries. Below is his comment:

"Dan Robertson
1 month ago
The weigh guesses are not very well thought out. Does a Tesla Model 3 weigh the same as a comparable car minus an engine ~150kg plus a 480kg battery pack? No it weighs between 0-150kg more than a compact exec car of comparable performance. For a class 8 semi we lose, the engine, the transmission, the differentials/axles, the fuel tank and fuel system, 3/4 of the cooling system, the exhaust system. ~4500kg. Now from what Elon has said the battery is 700-800kwh, the 500 mile range is achievable in that calculator if you move rolling friction down to 0.0045 which is feasible with the most efficient tyres (which it will have). The next issue with the calculator default settings is that the packing factor is set at a crazy value. To achieve the same energy density as a Model 3 battery it needs to be set to 0.68 (if keeping batteries at 250wh/kg) which now results in a battery weighing ~4600kg. Which is the same as the amount of kit we removed.... Obviously we have to add the electric motors back in but as they are just 4 X Model 3 motors that will be around 500kg. But wait there's more, firstly battery specific energy will be going up by 50% in the next 5 years, secondly the battery is structural which means we can reduce the rest of the vehicle by ~7% finally we are assuming that a regular semi is perfectly optimised for weight I doubt it is! - At the last earnings call Elon Musk was on record as stating that the Tesla Semi will weigh no more than an equivalent class 8 semi, I see no reason to doubt that statement. "
Grunchy
I’m unconvinced Adam has been somehow disproved, he makes the point that none of these vapor-ware manufacturers ever disclose their “load capacity” metric, and Volta is no exception. It’s funny you say we have to guess what the truck weight is going to be when they disclose, in this very article, that it’s 16 ton. Their only other performance claim is 200km range but neglect to point out this is wildly variable depending on road speed, grade, headwinds, weight of load, other loads placed on the battery pack like heating and air conditioning, etc.
I guess you’ve proven Adam wrong but no we still don’t know load capacity, and presumably Tesla will begin delivering those 2020 semi trucks “any day now,” like yeah, maybe you’re right? But I’m not holding my breath in anticipation, if that’s ok by you? 😄
Catweazle
Dave, 250wh/kg does not compare favourably with the 12 Mwh/kg obtainable from a tank of gas, double that in practice if the tank is run full to empty.
Curious how few EV aficionados appear to be aware of this massive difference, isn't it?