Friday, November 1, 2019

Revolutionary New HGV Truck Design Ticks All Emission and Direct Vision Boxes

All Electric Prototype Being Prepared for Summer 2020
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN – UK – WORLDWIDE – As the technology advances so the range of vehicles powered by electricity is inevitably getting wider with several of the major truck manufacturers seeking the Holy Grail of an HGV with long distance capabilities and longevity of battery life.

A recent entrant to the market is start up group Volta trucks which was formed earlier this year by serial entrepreneur and CEO Carl-Magnus Norden, supported by co-founder and CTO, Kjell Walöen, who brings nearly two decades of experience from the automotive industry, working for Ford, Volvo Cars and Polestar.

Our picture shows the initial concept vehicle, imagined by technology and design studio, Conjure in consultation with two other British partners, transport designers at Astheimer and motorsport and advanced technology consultancy, Prodrive. Now the project has announced a collaboration with another UK designer and producer of electric vehicle drive systems, Magtec, to develop and manufacture the all-electric drive train for the prototype to be unveiled in summer 2020.

Magtec says it brings unrivalled experience delivering drive systems for world-class electric vehicles. The first project to launch using Magtec drives was a pioneering electric bus scheme in the USA in 1999. Since then, the company has worked extensively with OEM, Tier 1 commercial suppliers across the world on specialist vehicle installations.

Volta is taking a completely new approach both to the design of the initial 16 tonne vehicle and the method of commercialising the model. The driver’s seat is positioned in the centre of the cabin, creating an increased field of direct 220 degree vision and allowing for entry and exit through sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle, away from passing traffic.

With the cabin positioned at 'True Floor Height' (street level) this also works to improve the vision of the driver, protecting cyclists and pedestrians, while preventing injuries caused from jumping out and climbing back into the truck, features which fit perfectly in with the current view of the ‘truck versus cyclist’ conundrum held by many urban authorities. For example Volta aims to exceed the demands of London’s incoming October 2020 vision standard for HGVs by some margin.

Sales will be another area with a new outlook. Volta trucks will be custom-made according to order requirements and feature a unique ‘Truck-as-a-Service’ rental model. Street pilots will be carried out in partnership with selected retailers in London and Paris in 2021. Carl-Magnus Norden, CEO and Founder of Volta Trucks comments:

“Our business is based on co-creation and collaboration with some of the brightest minds of our industry. Doing this is essential to succeed with our goal of moving as fast as we can to reduce air and sound pollution on our roads, while increasing the safety of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike. With Magtec on board we feel confident that this will help make our trucks road-ready at the pace we see necessary to meet the current, urgent needs of the cities and the people living within them.

”Until now, the HGV industry has been dominated by a few major players. With Magtec joining our other partners Prodrive, Conjure and Astheimer we now have a world-class line up of experts working on this project and together we will be able to deliver on our promise to bring sustainability and safety to cities across Europe and beyond.”

Through 100% electrification, Volta vehicles make 50% less noise and produce zero tailpipe emissions. Beyond reducing environmental impacts, the removal of bulky diesel engines Volta Trucks says has allowed it to radically redesign its vehicles, ensuring increased safety. Steve Price, the project leader at Prodrive, put it thus:

”Trucks face two major issues in an urban environment, not only are diesel engines rapidly becoming unacceptable but the category is disproportionately represented in accidents involving death and injuries among pedestrians and cyclists. Volta Trucks has taken the design opportunity provided by the switch to electrification to re-imagine the layout of a conventional truck and address emissions and safety concerns simultaneously.”

As a result of the safety features, and reduced noise and air pollution of its vehicles, Volta trucks will be permitted to operate in the most regulated urban areas, at all hours of the day, including night time, allowing for optimised delivery times and the reduction of traffic in congested areas. Andrew Gilligan, UK Managing Director of Magtec, observed:

“We are delighted to partner with Volta Trucks on this innovative project to reduce environmental harm and improve road user safety. This is a very exciting time for Magtec with our company involved in pioneering work across the world.

”Public opinion, business requirements and environmental bodies are driving change across all transportation sectors. Magtec is perfectly positioned to meet the needs of these markets by rolling out class-leading technology developed by our team over the past 20 years.”

Targets for the truck include a range of 100 miles, a top speed of 50 mph and a grade access ability sufficient to briskly negotiate the on-off ramps and slip roads typical of urban elevated routes. To maximise payload, the new cab will be a composite-clad space frame structure, the composite panels using natural rather than carbon fibres. The vehicle is intended for production in a range of sizes from 14-18 tonnes.