Leading design consultancy, Astheimer Design has collaborated with Swedish start-up electric vehicle manufacturer, Volta Trucks to design the Volta Zero – the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16 tonne truck with a clear focus on safety and sustainability.
Carsten Astheimer, Founder of Astheimer Design, said; “We’ve worked in close partnership with Volta Trucks from the beginning, understanding their vision and objectives, helping them position the brand and then guiding the product development process. Our starting point was the customer – understanding first-hand what urban deliveries was really like and interviewing logistics managers and drivers. We analysed the competitors and researched sustainable materials and technologies.”
Created specifically as an inner-city distribution vehicle, Volta Zero has been designed with a driver centric approach to make the vehicle safer for drivers as well as vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists. The driver sits in a central driving position, and in a lowered cab, to optimise eye height and maximise direct visibility. Symmetrical rear sliding doors allows easy access in-and-out of either side of the cab.
“Being fully electric, we were able to completely rethink how the truck was designed. Placing the batteries and powertrain in the ladder chassis underneath the body, gave us a clean sheet of paper for the layout and design of the cabin. We had three main priorities: Safety, ease of ingress / egress and the best driver environment of any truck on the market,” continued Carsten.
Volta Zero is fitted with 160-200kWh batteries delivering a range of up to 200km. The overall design is characterised by an iconic streamlined silhouette, consisting of a fully integrated cab and load space, split by a purposeful angle.
“Where technology meets nature is the embodiment of the overall direction,” says Russell Gillott, Design Director of Astheimer Design. “This philosophy is in harmony with the brand, giving the vehicle a friendly and approachable character. The simplicity of the overall volume, combined with clean, sculptural surfaces and precise details emphasise its futuristic essence. To create the most sustainable vehicle possible, we made the body panels from natural flax fibre infused with a biodegradable resin. The result is a fully natural, extremely lightweight, high-performance fibre composite that is almost CO2 neutral over its lifecycle.”
“We are delighted to be working with the team at Astheimer Design,” said Kjell Walöen, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Volta Trucks. “Volta Trucks is developing a unique vehicle, experience and service for its customers. The team at Astheimer worked closely with us to create the Volta Zero – a futuristic yet relevant design that meets a wide range of ergonomic, engineering, and functional requirements.”
Volta Trucks will launch their Pilot fleet of vehicles to selected customers in 2021. Large logistics fleet operators have already signed-up to trial the Volta Zero, including DPD Group in the UK and Bring and Posten in Scandinavia, with orders also already being received for the vehicle in both markets.