The record was set using a Logistics 18E truck made by Futuricum, which builds electric lorries on chassis supplied by Volvo and with battery cells sourced from BMW. It wasn’t a specially prepared lorry with significant modifications, either, with the record-setting vehicle being sourced from logistics company, DPD, which uses them as part of its operations in Germany and Switzerland.
Undertaking the record itself saw two drivers taking it in turns to drive for 4.5 hour stints around the Contidrom oval track, owned by tyre maker Continental. An average speed of 31mph was maintained which, if you do the maths, means the record took around 23 hours. Despite claiming the record, conditions weren’t perfect with an ambient temperature of 14 Celsius and wind working against the team.
Helping to overcome this were several factors. Continental supplied specially optimised tyres which it has developed for use on buses and other heavy vehicles, offering low rolling resistance compared to standard HGV tyres. These were developed in conjunction with VDL Bus & Coach at the Contidorm facilities back in 2020. In addition, the truck was driven unladen, which meant it weighed ‘just’ 15.5 tons.
Ultimately, though, the thing that won the day was the fact that the Futuricum Logistics 18E is absolutely stuffed full of battery cells with a gross capacity of no less than 680kWh (of which 578kWh is usable). That’s equivalent to 13.6 electric Vauxhall Corsas. The truck managed just under 1.2 miles per kWh, which just under half that of the aforementioned Vauxhall, which will do 3.8 miles/kWh in ideal conditions.
Still, that’s a big improvement on the official range and consumption. The manufacturer reckons on 472 miles, whilst in practice, and through over 12,000km of real-world use, the truck has achieved more like 336 miles with a consumption of 0.58 miles per kWh.
Whilst battery-powered trucks aren’t likely to be undertaking long-distance haulage any time soon, there’s a big market in local and inner-city distribution – something that Volta Trucks is tapping into in the ongoing development of the Volta Zero.
Real-world testing is underway at the MIRA proving ground using the so-called Volta Minus One which is a bare frame chassis and powertrain with a cab. Production is confirmed to start in 2022 in Austria and the company aims to be producing 27,000 vehicles by 2025. It has already received around 10 per cent of this figure in pre-orders.
With models ranging from 7.5 to 19 tonnes and supported by policy across Europe to decarbonise our cities, trucks like the Volta Zero will join those already working, such as the record-breaking Futuricum Logistics 18E, to create zero emissions supply chains.