Astheimer, a design studio based in Warwick, England, helped Swedish startup Volta Trucks come up with the distinct design of its new all-electric, zero-emission Volta Zero delivery vehicle. The Volta Zero was unveiled on 3 September and will enter a pilot phase in the first half of 2021 with 12 vehicles going to commercial fleets across Europe before entering production in 2022. It will feature a battery that ranges from 160 to 200 kilowatt-hours and have a range of between 150 and 200 kilometres, making it ideal for urban operations such as last-mile deliveries.
“Technology Meets Nature”
When Astheimer first started thinking about the Volta Zero’s design, it went out and interviewed drivers and fleet managers to find out what was most important to them. The company then researched competitor vehicles and found out what materials and technologies would best suit the sustainability focus of the vehicle.
“Where technology meets nature is the embodiment of the overall direction. This philosophy is in harmony with the brand, giving the vehicle a friendly and approachable character,” says Russell Gillott, design director of Astheimer Design. “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.”
“Being fully electric, we were able to completely rethink how the truck was designed,” says Astheimer Founder Carsten Astheimer. “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 and egress, and the best driver environment of any truck on the market.”
The panoramic cab offers 220 degrees of visibility, is lower to the ground, and features a centralised seat, giving the driver a better eyeline. When combined with the Zero’s several-camera driver visibility system, these features make the Volta Zero safer to drive in city centres around pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles.