Motor Industry Update 27 August 2021

Volta Zero prototype Volta Zero Prototype - Photo credit: Volta Trucks

Volta Trucks first real-world trials of prototype Volta Zero

Volta Trucks is to begin engineering evaluation and development testing of the first prototype Volta Zero at HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton, here in the UK. The Volta Zero is the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed specifically for inner city logistics.

The development engineers have named the prototype ‘Volta Minus One’ as the forerunner to the production-specification Volta Zero, which uses the proposed production specification chassis frame and drivetrain of the finished vehicle. Testing will begin on all the electro-mechanical and thermal properties of the truck, including the high-voltage battery supplied by Proterra, and the compact rear axle, electric motor and transmission eAxle unit from Meritor.

The bodywork of the prototype is rather unconventional but has been designed to protect the development driver from the elements when the vehicle is moving at speed. The final production vehicle will feature a cargo box design, but the flatbed design on the prototype allows engineers to add different levels and locations of loads to test its weight carrying capacity and capacity.

The prototype Volta Zero will continue testing at HORIBA MIRA over the next few months followed by periods of cold weather testing north of the Arctic Circle, as well as hot weather testing in southern Europe. The comprehensive testing programme will ensure that the production-specification Volta Zero vehicles deliver the durability and reliability expected by fleet operators and vehicle owners alike.

Full-scale production of customer-specification vehicles is expected to begin by the end of 2022.

Chief Product Officer of Volta Trucks, Ian Collins, said;

“The start of testing and evaluation of the first prototype Volta Zero is a major milestone on our journey towards production, and an exciting time for all of the Volta Trucks team and our customers. To have achieved this landmark moment in just eight months is a great example of the nimble and agile approach we have at Volta Trucks. We work at high pace to ensure that we can bring zero emission, full-electric commercial vehicles to market quickly, because our customers require vehicles as soon as possible. We need to go through a comprehensive and thorough development programme, but the start of prototype testing is evidence that we are on track to deliver production vehicles, on time, by the end of next year.”

REEcorner Technology

REEcorner™ single compact module – Photo credit: REE Automotive

REE Automotive awarded £12.5 million funding from the UK government

Innovator in e-mobility REE Automotive Ltd., which recently started to trade on Nasdaq, announced last week that its REEcorner™ technology has been awarded £12.5 million funding from the UK government as part of a £41.2 million investment, coordinated through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

This investment follows the UK government’s goal to speed up the shift to zero-emission vehicles and de-carbonize the UK’s transport networks and will help drive energy-saving technology across a wide range of vehicles and bring forward a green economy recovery.

The funding means that REE will be able to facilitate commercial production of its breakthrough REEcorner™ technology and ultra-modular electric vehicle platforms, including engineering design, validation, verification and testing and product homologation.

REEcorner™ technology packs critical vehicle components such as steering, braking, suspension, powertrain and control into a single compact module located between the chassis and the wheels, enabling fully-flat EV platforms. These ultra-modular EV platforms are designed to offer enhanced payload capacity by providing more room for carrying passengers, cargo and batteries and enhanced body design flexibility including future autonomous capability.

Ian Constance, Chief Executive at the APC said:

“These projects tackle some really important challenges in the journey to net-zero road transport. They address range anxiety and cost, which can be a barrier to people making the switch to electric vehicles and they also provide potential solutions to the challenge of how we decarbonize public transport and the movement of goods. By investing in this innovation, we’re taking these technologies closer to the point where they are commercially viable, which will strengthen the UK’s automotive supply chain, safeguard or create jobs and reduce harmful greenhouse emissions.”

Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone added:

“By investing tens of millions in the technology needed to decarbonize our roads, not only are we working hard to end our contribution to climate change, but also ensuring our automotive sector has a competitive future that will secure thousands of highly-skilled jobs. Seizing the opportunities that arise from the global green automotive revolution is central to our plans to build back greener, and these winning projects will help make the widespread application and adoption of cutting-edge, clean automotive technology a reality.”

Mike Charlton, REE’s COO commented:

“REE is honoured to have been selected as recipient of the UK funding to support REE investment in the UK automotive ecosystem following an extensive vetting and selection process. With the opening of our Engineering Centre in the UK in February this year, this reaffirms our commitment to the region and is in line with our plans for the mass production of our breakthrough REEcorner and electric vehicle platform technology. The UK is an ideal location for a pioneering automotive company like REE thanks to the country’s commitment to vehicle electrification which dovetails with our vision of propelling a zero-emissions, greener future for our generation and those to come.”