Trucking good news: Britain picked to build prototype electric lorry

Trucking good news: Britain picked to build prototype electric lorry

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Volta will produce its first zero-emission truck in Britain

Volta will produce its first zero-emission truck in Britain

A Swedish start-up hoping to revolutionise the transport industry with electric trucks has picked the UK to build its prototype vehicle.

Volta is tapping Britain’s expertise in the automotive industry to produce the first of its battery-powered vehicles intended for urban deliveries.

The trucks will have a capacity of up to 18 tonnes and are intended for multi-drop routes around cities, with a top speed of 50mph and a 100 mile range. A novel layout enabled by the use of batteries and motors instead of a traditional engine means the cab is much lower, a design intended to reduce accidents and to provide better vision on crowded streets.

Volta founder Carl-Magnus Norden said he had signed up UK companies including motorsport specialist Prodrive and electric drive designer and manufacturer Magtec to the project.

He added: “The UK and the Midlands specifically has a fantastic legacy of producing world-leading automotive brands and innovations.

"We will therefore be manufacturing the prototype together with our partner Prodrive at their Banbury base.”

Volta, which expects to launch a £20m initial funding round next year, believes it has an advantage over established truckmakers in the move to electric power because it does not have an established portfolio of factories set up for traditional engines.

Kjell Waloen, chief technology officer, said: “We don’t have any to ‘unlearn’ anything that has been done before. We can think differently.”

The company also hopes to demonstrate its technology in London, before moving on to other cities. “If we can show our design works in London, then we know it will work in any major city.”

Volta’s decision to build in the UK goes against that of Elon Musk. The founder of Tesla has repeatedly expressed his admiration for Britain’s innovation in the automotive sector, indicating he wanted a UK base to tap that expertise.

Tesla founder Elon Musk
Tesla founder Elon Musk praised the UK's automotive sector - then snubbed it

However, last month Mr Musk - who unveiled his own Tesla truck two years ago - pulled a U-turn, saying he would set up in Germany and build a “gigafactory” there.

The news came as it was forecast that worldwide sales of electric vehicles would jump by almost 30pc to 2.8m next year.

The prediction came from the Economist Intelligence Unit which said the rise from 2.2m in 2019 would largely be driven by China, which would account for more than half of total electric vehicles sales.

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Source: Alan Tovey, Industry Editor -

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