Meet Volta Zero, an electric cargo bus for city hauling

Folks, you're looking at Volta Zero, Europe's first all-electric commercial cargo bus. Volta Trucks is the brains behind the Zero, and the startup has an impressive resume. Volta is widely known as the first commercial vehicle manufacturer in Europe to have a proprietary e-Axle electric drivetrain.

Unlike other electric vehicles, the Zero's e-Axle drivetrain comprises the electric motor, transmission, and axle in a single lightweight unit. Meanwhile, the modular lithium-ion phosphate battery pack is situated between the chassis rails. This design enables Volta to build tailor-made trucks for any commercial application.

"Commercial vehicles form the lifeblood of commerce and livelihoods in cities, but today's large trucks dangerously impose themselves on our streets and dominate their surroundings," said Rob Fowler, CEO of Volta Trucks. "With the launch of Volta Zero, we are changing the face of road transport."

Don't get us wrong, the Volta Zero is still a huge bus and is bigger than Rivian's Amazon electric delivery van. Measuring almost 10-meters long and 3.5-meters in width, the body panels are crafted from renewable biodegradable resins and flax fibers. Developed by Swiss company Bcomp in collaboration with the European Space Agency, the Zero's body panels are touted to be as strong and light as carbon-fiber, and yet uses 75-percent less CO2 to produce. The unique weave is processed using canola oil by British company Bamd to form the panels.

Despite this, the Volta Zero still weighs close to 16 tons, but it has a unique driving position to give the driver an edge when cruising narrow streets. Similar to a McLaren F1 or GMA T.50, the swiveling driver's chair is situated in the middle of the cabin. This means having a 220-degree view of the outside environment. The driver also sits 1.8-meters lower to the ground for better inter-city visibility. Meanwhile, larger windows and a 360-degree camera allows for easier maneuverability while eliminating blind spots around the vehicle.

The Volta Zero has a top speed of 56 mph. Equipped with a 160 to 200 kWh battery pack, it achieves around 125 miles of range. And with up to 37.3 cubic meters (1,317 cubic feet) of cargo space, it has a maximum payload capacity of 9.6 tons.

Prototype testing of Volta Zero begins later next year, while the first production units are expected to arrive in early or mid-2022. The Zero also comes with standard ADAS driving aids including active steering, reversing assistant, lane change assist, lane departure warning, and an A.I.-based vehicle monitoring system.