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Volta Trucks develops electric 16-tonne lorry with “glasshouse-style” cabin

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Volta Trucks develops electric 16-tonne lorry with “glasshouse-style” cabin

Swedish startup Volta Trucks has launched an electric 16-tonne truck featuring a cab with large expanses of glass to offer safer and less polluting freight distribution in city centres.

Billed a “world first” by its developers, the Volta Zero vehicle was developed in collaboration with Warwick-based design consultancy Astheimer.

Volta Trucks and Astheimer have designed a fully electric, 16-tonne truck

As well as avoiding emissions, the Volta Zero is designed to be safer than current city-based commercial vehicles for both pedestrians and other road users.

By choosing an electric powertrain, the designers were able to place the batteries in the chassis, freeing up space and allowing the designers to create a truck centred around the driver.

The central position of the driver’s seat and its low height both work to eliminate blind spots and expand the driver’s direct vision.

The truck features wide stretches of glass to maximise the driver’s view

“The driver has a wide 220 degrees of direct vision around the vehicle,” the designers explained. “This panoramic view of the surroundings through a glasshouse-style cab delivers a Transport for London five-star Direct Vision Standard rating for optimum visibility.”

“The driver sits in a low and central position, eliminating blind spots, and mirroring the eye-line of nearby pedestrians and other vulnerable road users for easy visual communication,” they continued.

“The central seating position also aids driver entry and exit, with a low step height allowing safe and easy access through fast-opening sliding doors, directly onto the pavement and never the busy carriageway.”

The driver has access to a steering wheel featuring a human machine interface (HMI), and three touchscreens that only display information when required to ensure the driver isn’t distracted.

Volta Zero is designed to offer safer and more sustainable freight distribution in cities

The vehicle contains 160-200 kilowatt-hour (kWh) batteries that are capable of a range of up to 200 kilometres (124 miles).

In a bid to further heighten the eco-friendliness of the vehicle, Astheimer and Volta Trucks made the body panels from natural flax fibre that was infused with a biodegradable resin.

The truck’s body panels are made from natural flax fibre

The designers also felt it important to give the truck a “friendly and approachable character”, which they did by incorporating “unique” V-shaped daytime running lights (DRLs).

Elsewhere, simple and sculptural surfaces were used to create an overall futuristic effect, and have the additional advantage of being easy to clean.

The truck has been shortlisted in the product design category of Dezeen Awards 2021.

Other projects that were shortlisted in the product design category of this year’s Dezeen Awards include a minimalist pickup truck by Canoo, and a self-assembly-style football for children by Nendo.

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