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Transforming trucks to create safer and sustainable urban spaces

30 Mar 2022
Gion Baker

Gion Baker

Head of Vodafone Automotive

We’re on the edge of real change in the transportation and mobility space. Advances in connectivity technology are enabling cooperative mobility and new road safety services, while the EU’s ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 is speeding up the switch to electric vehicles (EVs).

Switching to electric vehicles, particularly in last-mile logistics, can not only support net-zero emission ambitions but it could also help save lives and make our urban environments safer, healthier and more sustainable for all.

Clean air as a target

In Europe, more than 400,000 people die prematurely each year due to air pollution, which is more than ten times the toll of road traffic accidents[1].

Despite making up only 2% of vehicles on the road, trucks are responsible for 22% of European road transport emissions today[2]. And this is expected to increase as the European Commission predicts truck activity will rise by more than 50% by 2050.

That is why we’re working with Volta Trucks to support the transition to electric. Volta Trucks has addressed the commercial vehicle market, by re-designing towards safety and security, driver interaction and powertrain.

The Volta Zero is the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle created specifically for urban freight distribution. It has been designed to be the safest commercial vehicle, protecting vulnerable road users, and to be a significant contributor to the future vision of zero-emission cities all over the world.

Transforming trucks

Safety in our cities

Transport for London’s own statistics show that 20 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 78 percent of cyclist deaths involve a truck, yet trucks only account for 4% of road miles. This is clearly unacceptable. Migrating from combustion engines to electrical presents new degrees of freedom to design for safety and driver convenience.

Firstly, the driver sits low in a central position. This eliminates blind spots and therefore reduces the risk of collision with pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road-users nearby.

The Volta Zero also gives driver’s access on both sides via sliding doors that open directly onto the pavement and avoid obstructing the path of other road users. In addition, the central seating position makes driver entry and exit convenient and safe.

Secondly, by designing the cabin with an intuitive user interface, the cognitive overload for drivers is set to a minimum. A spacious and contemporary cabin also creates a premium working environment where the truck does some of the thinking and an independent front suspension improves ride comfort.

Security at speed

Finally, to have a truly safe vehicle, the Volta Zero needed to include an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS), as mandated by the EU.

Electric vehicles reversing or travelling less than 20 kilometres per hour (about 12 miles per hour) must generate a noise to alert nearby drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists that the vehicle is present and moving.

Working together, our automotive team alongside Volta Trucks, have been able to deliver AVAS at speed. As well as helping it secure its vehicles with an Alarm System to protect its vehicles from theft and interference.

While our compact, cost-efficient and eco-friendly AVAS solution generates wide frequency ranged sounds based on vehicle speed and acceleration, the Alarm System is programmed to alert the driver via an app when the truck is interfered with. All of which goes to making the Volta Zero safer and more secure.

Together with Volta Trucks, we protect communities by preventing unnecessary road accidents and injuries.

A better planet for all

As part of Vodafone’s own sustainable business strategy, we’re cutting CO2 emissions and electronic waste and are helping our customers to do the same.

Our mission is to contribute to make mobility safe, secure and sustainable. We either support our customers in the transition or co-develop towards new concepts.

Working with businesses like Volta Trucks, we can make a real difference. Driving forward best-in-class vehicles that can create a brighter future for everyone.

Learn more about how Vodafone Automotive can support your own fleet ambitions.

[1]https://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/cleaner_air/#sources

[2]https://www.energymonitor.ai/sectors/transport/europe-still-struggling-to-green-trucks

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