Volta Zero electric truck to feature panels made of woven flax
The continuing rise of global carbon emissions has brought with it a rise in sustainable transport solutions, but the Volta Zero truck is one that takes this ethos further than most. In addition to an all-electric drivetrain, the truck will feature panels made from sustainable natural composites and is pitched as a holistically green way for logistics companies to deliver goods around cities.
With the Volta Zero, Volta Trucks hopes to offer a cleaner means of completing freight deliveries in urban settings. The 16-tonne truck features an all-electric drivetrain that draws power from a 160-200-kWh battery pack, which makes for a range of up to 200 km (125 mi) and a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph).
It is a rather unique-looking truck, with the driver’s seat centrally located and the electric drivetrain allowing the cabin to be positioned low to the ground, while large windows provide 220-degree views of the surroundings. In the back there is 37.3 m3 (1,317 ft3) of load space, while the payload capacity tops out at 8.6 tonnes (9.6 tons).
Where things get interesting with the Volta Zero is the construction of the exterior paneling. This material was developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency and consists of flax fibers mixed with biodegradable resins, resulting in an entirely natural composite claimed to be carbon neutral over its lifecycle.
Volta says this material has already found its way into vehicles used in competitive motor racing, but this is the first time it has been worked into a vehicle destined for public roads. It also promises a number of benefits over carbon fiber panels or other lightweight solutions, with Volta claiming it is up to three times better at vibration damping and will bend and snap under impact, rather than shatter into sharp pieces that pose a risk of injury.
“Every Volta Zero will remove tonnes of CO2 from our city’s atmospheres but we believe that sustainability is more than just tailpipe emissions, so we have taken an environmental-first approach to all material sourcing,” says CEO of Volta Trucks, Rob Fowler. “This includes the world’s first use of a natural flax and biodegradable resin composite in body panel construction that is CO2 neutral and fully recyclable. We will continue to strain every sinew to ensure we deliver on our mission of becoming the world’s most sustainable commercial vehicle manufacturer.”
Though it only has renders of the Volta Zero to show for now, the company says the first prototype is under construction and will be shown off later this year. It plans to roll out the first test vehicles in the first quarter of 2021.
Source: Volta Trucks