Volta Gears Up for EV Truck Production

2022 volta zero prototype
Volta Gears Up for EV Truck ProductionVolta
  • EV truck startup Volta approaches production start with its debut model after a successful round of testing in 2022.

  • The 16-tonne Volta Zero is aimed at urban deliveries, offering a range of up to 125 miles.

  • Volta'a battery-electric Zero will be produced in Austria for the European market, as the company works to set up production stateside.

After an eventful year in which the first pre-production Volta Zero trucks rolled off the assembly line after an extensive testing program, the EV truck startup is getting ready to begin series production. The company has just revealed that it plans to begin building the Volta Zero in the second quarter of 2023, after a series of customer evaluation events in Europe in 2022 and a debut at the IAA Mobility in Hannover, Germany.

Volta has now revealed it has received orders for the first 300 of its trucks, which will be built in Steyr, Austria under contract. "This covers a meaningful portion of our 2023 production targets, before customers have pilot tested the vehicles," said Essa Al-Saleh, CEO of Volta Trucks.

The Volta Zero is a 16-tonne purpose-built panel truck intended for last-mile delivery in urban settings, offering a range of 95 to 125 miles, with batteries from US-based Proterra. The truck was designed for urban logistics from the start, with Volta tailoring the design with pedestrian and driver safety in mind and a central seating position giving the driver 220 degrees of visibility.

The urban-friendly design is just one part of the truck's value proposition, as the company plans to offer Truck as a Service (TaaS), complete with service and maintenance sites in Europe, with the first two planned for London and just south of Paris. Volta's plan combines insurance, maintenance, training, charging infrastructure, and service into a single monthly fee for owners, designed to make it easy for fleets to make the switch to EV trucks.

volta zero
All-electric Volta Zero.Richard Parsons

Founded only in 2019, the company is focused on launches in several European markets, after a successful round of testing over the past year, but plans to land in the US in 2023 as well. Ideally, Volta wants to build the trucks in the states, including models with heavier gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs). Smaller versions are in the works too, but the first ones in the US will be the initial 16-tonne models that will be produced first.

"Volta Trucks completed an on-road engineering test phase of the full-electric Volta Zero prototype on the roads of Paris and London, with some of Europe's largest fleet operators. Customers included DB Schenker, Petit Forestier, the UK's The Crown Estate and Clipper Logistics, international parcel delivery service, DPD and Fraikin, leaders in commercial vehicle fleet services," the company said.

Volta is now one of several EV startups seeking to court logistics companies in Europe, though its medium-duty trucks are quite a bit larger and heavier than those built by Rivian for Amazon, or by GM's BrightDrop. One of Volta's market advantages at the moment is that most of its competitors are focused on van-sized delivery models, instead of offering something a size or two larger.

But like other startups, it is now approaching the make-or-break production launch phase.

Should logistics companies in the US make it a priority to switch to electric trucks as soon as possible, or await state legislation? Let us know in the comments below.