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Prodrive and Volta in EV truck partnership

30 October 2019 #Aftermarket #CV Sector #News #TNB News #Truck

Prodrive – the UK engineering specialist best known for its work in motorsport and its winning association with the late rally legend Colin McRae – is working with Volta Trucks to help engineer its revolutionary 16-tonne electric HGV.

The new truck is designed to meet zero emissions requirements and also to help keep vulnerable road users safer in crowded urban environments.

The Volta Trucks concept HGV positions its driver low down, centrally and forward of the front axle, to give uninterrupted vision at street level through 220 degrees.

Oxfordshire-based Prodrive, which has advanced technologies, research and development and powertrain development divisions, will help develop the design into a drivable demonstrator by early summer 2020.

By positioning the driver in the centre of the cab at eye level with a pedestrian; using extensive cabin glazing and replacing conventional rear-view mirrors with cameras, dangerous blind spots are eliminated. Passenger seating is arranged behind the driver, on either side. Transport for London already has a star rating system for truck visibility called the Direct Vision Standard applicable to all HGVs weighing more than 12 tonnes, which comes into effect from October 2020. Prodrive believes the Volta truck will exceed that by such a margin as to set a new standard.

Steve Price, the project leader at Prodrive said,

“Our client Volta Trucks has taken the design opportunity provided by the switch to electrification to re-imagine the layout of a conventional truck and address emissions and safety concerns simultaneously.”

To further reduce potential hazards, the truck uses bus-style doors on both sides with a slide/swing action to minimise intrusion into the path of pedestrians or cyclists, and allowing the driver to easily access the central driving position.

To maximise payload, the new cab will be a composite-clad spaceframe structure, the composite panels using natural rather than carbon fibres. The vehicle can be produced in a range of sizes from 14-18 tonnes.

During the manufacture of the prototype batch, Prodrive will gradually hand over build responsibility to the confirmed production supplier, but will retain engineering responsibility and oversee ongoing development. The target manufacturing volume is 2000 units per year.

Prodrive’s track record in EV engineering began in 2001 with the conversion of a front wheel drive Saab into a hybrid demonstrator with the rear axle electrically driven. More recently, the company led the fast-track development program for Ford’s plug-in hybrid version of the Ford Transit Custom and built a fleet of 20 vans which were used in a successful 12-month trial with customers in London. So good were the results, that the Ford Transit PHEV is set to enter full production later this year.

Carl-Magnus Norden, Founder and CEO, Volta Trucks  said, “With a successful record of producing demonstrator and fleet trial vehicles, coupled with many years’ experience working with EV powertrains, we felt Prodrive was a natural partner; big enough to assemble a multi-skilled team quickly, yet small enough to retain the agility needed when introducing new technology.

“Its independence from established suppliers is also a valuable asset in ensuring all engineering decisions are completely impartial.”

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