Swedish electric truck start-up Volta Trucks has announced the strategic roadmap for its entry into the North American market. According to the plan, the company will initially launch a pilot fleet of one hundred 16-tonne Volta Zeros (Class 7) in the US in mid-2023. They will be evaluated by customers in Los Angeles and later in other cities.
US series production of the vehicles is planned for 2024. The introduction of the Class 7 Volta Zero is to be followed by US Class 5 and Class 6 variants, corresponding to the European 7.5 and 12-tonne models, in 2024 and 2025 respectively. The first Class 7 vehicles delivered to the US will be built by contract manufacturer Steyr Automotive in Austria.
Volta Trucks is planning contract manufacturing in the USA for Class 5 and 6 vehicles. Work is currently underway to initiate the first production in the US with an experienced partner, the company said. Contracts are expected to be finalised during 2022.
“With more than 6,000 vehicle pre-orders in hand, from some of Europe’s largest fleet operators, it is time to expand our geographic horizons and look towards the significant market opportunity in North America,” Norden said now. “I believe our full-electric truck will be perfectly suited to the US customer’s needs, and we look forward to engaging customers to gain feedback on our product and services, then testing and learning as we look to exceed their expectations.”
The announced vehicles will be visually similar to the Class 7 vehicle. In the front, the vehicles are identical, writes Volta Trucks, but the Class 6 vehicle will have a longer chassis and body, as well as a second set of rear wheels and tyres.
The Volta Zero was developed specifically for urban logistics. Designed from the ground up, the vehicle uses a Meritor eAxle from Michigan State, which combines the electric motor, transmission and axle into a single unit. The batteries are supplied by Proterra from California and are housed in the chassis rails.
The modular battery configuration allows a range of 95 to 125 miles (about 150 to 200 kilometres). The vehicle is designed for both AC and DC fast charging – via standard AC charging at 19 kW, the vehicle can extend its range by about 12 miles in an hour, and via DC at 250 kW, the Volta Zero can be fully charged in just over an hour.
According to the details from the recent press release, Volta Trucks has so far built 24 road-ready prototypes for design verification, which are currently undergoing a test programme in Europe. “Ahead of the introduction in North America, the company expects to have already built more than 1,500 full-electric Class 7 trucks for European customers,” the company added.
Volta Trucks is offering a Truck as a Service deal at a monthly payment. In Europe, the service includes services such as initial site assessment, installation of charging equipment, and financing and insurance options. Maintenance and servicing requirements of the vehicle are also included. Following the same approach, the company plans to develop its own hubs in the USSA. They are to be located close to customers’ logistics centres. In addition, Volta Trucks wants to develop a third-party network to increase the geographical coverage of service and maintenance points.
With reporting by Domenico Sciurti, Germany.
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