Electric commercial vehicle startup Volta Trucks has announced plans to enter the US market in mid-2023, when the first Volta Zero vehicles will start operating on Los Angeles' streets.
The first model to enter North America will be the 33,000-lbs Volta Zero Class 7 truck with a dry or refrigerated cargo box; this model is the equivalent to the existing European 16-ton truck.
Designed for urban logistics, the battery-electric medium duty-truck uses a compact eAxle that integrates the electric motor, transmission, and axle all in one unit, supplied by Michigan-based Meritor. The eAxle draws energy from high-voltage batteries located within the chassis rails, supplied by California-based Proterra.
Initially, Volta Trucks will introduce a Pilot Fleet of 100 Class 7 trucks in mid-2023 to be evaluated by US customers, starting in Los Angeles and later on in additional cities. The company estimates that production vehicles will roll out in 2024.
Gallery: Volta Zero
At this point, Volta Trucks has 24 road-going "Design Verification" prototypes undergoing an extensive testing program in Europe. The company expects to have already built more than 1,500 full-electric Class 7 trucks for European customers before the launch in North America.
For the US market, the Class 7 Volta Zero will offer a modular battery configuration to deliver a range of 95-125 miles, which the company says is more than enough for downtown distribution routes.
The vehicle will take both AC 19 kW and DC 250 kW fast charging, with the latter delivering a full charge from empty in just over an hour. One hour of 19 kW AC standard charging will add around 12 miles of driving range.
Following the US introduction of the Class 7 Volta Zero, the truck maker will add 19,500-lbs Class 5 and 26,000-lbs Class 6 trucks in 2024 and 2025, respectively. Those are the equivalents to the recently unveiled European 7.5- and 12-ton vehicles, respectively.
Sharing the design language and key features with the Class 7 truck, the Class 5 and 6 trucks will be identical to each other from the front. The main differences are that Class 6 vehicles have a longer chassis and body, as well as a second set of rear wheels and tyres, to manage the increased vehicle payload.
The first Class 7 vehicles delivered to the US will be built at the existing contract manufacturing facility in Steyr, Austria, while all Class 5 and 6 vehicles for North America will be built in the US—Volta Trucks aims to appoint an experienced US-based manufacturing partner in late 2022.
The company also plans to develop its own network Volta Truck Hubs for vehicle service and maintenance, in addition to third-party facilities.