Volta hatches US launch plan for medium-duty electric trucks
Almost three years after sharing renders for its electric goods hauler, commercial e-truck startup Volta Trucks has announced that it's heading to the US. A Class 7 Volta Zero design-verification prototype is set to roll into California ahead of pilot trials in late 2023.
The US vehicle debut at the Advanced Clean Transportation expo in Anaheim next month follows the granting of type approval certification in Europe, which allows the company to manufacture and sell its models across the continent. Second-generation prototypes will be loaned to customers for evaluation so that fleet operators can "fully understand how the all-electric medium duty truck will integrate into their operations."
The US introduction will start on the west coast with Class 6 and Class 7 vehicles being made available to operators as part of a Pilot Fleet trial similar to the scheme operating in Europe. The 16-ton Zero trucks will be available with a modular (150 to 225 kWh) Proterra battery bank capable of between 95 and 125 miles of per-charge urban operation, and will feature a combined motor, transmission and axle supplied by Accelera by Cummins out of Michigan.
Drivers will be seated at the cabin's center with eye-level views of other road users over a wide 220-degree field of view, and can enter and exit on either side of the "glasshouse-style cabin" via a sliding door.
Vehicles produced to US specifications are expected to be available from 2024, with Volta introducing a Truck-as-a-Service model that will allow businesses to pay monthly rental fees for the electric trucks plus the necessary servicing, maintenance, training and insurance requirements. The company is looking to set up service hubs near to customer logistics centers, as well as developing a network of partner facilities.
"We’re building on the key learnings from our European launch, where we’ve developed at speed and scale, with deep understanding of our customers’ needs, to accelerate the transition to electric commercial vehicles and help decarbonize city centers," said Volta's CEO, Essa Al-Saleh. "The US faces the same safety and sustainability issues we are addressing in Europe and is a significant market opportunity for us. This marks the start of our journey in the US, and we are excited to bring road-certified vehicles for US customers to evaluate later this year."
If all goes to plan, 19,500-lb Class 5 and 26,000-lb Class 6 trucks are due to join Volta's US fleet in 2026.
Source: Volta Trucks
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But don't overlook the possibility of Tesla extending their Semi into a box truck for this same market. Volta, shame on you for not mentioning price.
@DOC New battery formulations will soon make the 4-500 mile range possible, as Tesla just did with its Semi.