This electric truck will cut city air pollution

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  • Nine out of 10 people breathe polluted air, most of them in cities.
  • Although there are ever more zero emission cars, trucks are still mostly diesel.
  • But now a new electric urban delivery truck is starting to clean up our urban air.

There were 10 million electric cars on the world’s roads at the end of 2020 as registrations soared by 41% in just one year. But when it comes to hauling heavy loads, most of the world’s trucks still run on diesel.

But that’s starting to change with the introduction in Germany of the world’s first 16 tonne all-electric truck. The Volta Zero has already been demonstrated in France, Italy and Spain. It’s due to enter service by the end of this year.

Electrifying truck fleets will have a positive impact on urban air quality. According to the United Nations, nine out of 10 of us breathe polluted air. Air quality is at its worst in city centres. The 96 entries in the global league table of the worst air quality locations are all cities. Recent research shows 3.4 early deaths are caused by outdoor air pollution every year.

Outdoor air pollution is among the biggest risk factors to human life.

Image: Our World in Data

Cleaner air and safer streets

As well as being the first purpose-designed all-electric commercial vehicle designed for city centre deliveries with a range of 200 km between charges, the Volta Zero is also claimed to be one of the safest trucks in the world.

Cleaner air: the Volta Zero electric truck designed for inner city deliveries.

Image: Volta Trucks

The driver sits in the centre of the cab at low-level to mirror the eyeline of pedestrians and car drivers. Conventional truck blindpots are eliminated by what the makers call a “glasshouse-style cab” with 220⁰ visibility, supplemented by cameras in place of conventional mirrors.

Sweden-based Volta have also shown the Zero to potential customers in London where a fifth of all pedestrian fatalities and over 70% of cyclist deaths are caused by trucks even though they only account for 4% of vehicle mileage in the city.

The timing of their sales campaign is particularly opportune. Earlier this year, 14 Dutch cities announced they would ban fossil fuel vans and trucks from their urban areas from 2025. Across Europe, communities will allow only electric vehicles in towns and city centres in future.

Volta Trucks is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community, an invitation-only group of the world’s most promising start-ups and scale-ups that are at the forefront of technological and business model innovation.

The Zero is not the only truck vying for the lucrative urban market. Last autumn Amazon ordered 10,000 electric vans from US-based maker Rivian and 1,800 Mercedes electric vans for use in Europe, the German manufacturer’s biggest single electric vehicle order.

Of road: deliveries of the all-electric Hummer pick up will start deliveries this autumn.

Image: GMC

Rivian is also building an all-electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) with deliveries due to start in July 2021….



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