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Volta Trucks Adopts Flax Based Fabric

Auto News - Published on Sat, 11 Jul 2020

Image Source: Volta Trucks
Volta Trucks has adopted a holistic and comprehensive approach to sustainability, going far beyond just tailpipe emissions, with the launch of the Volta Zero, the first purpose-built full electric large commercial vehicle designed for inner city deliveries. The Volta Zero will be the first road vehicle to use a sustainably sourced natural Flax material and biodegradable resins in the construction of exterior body panels, with the cab’s dark body panels and many interior trims constructed from the natural material. Flax is a sustainably farmed crop where the entire plant is used; flax seeds for linseed oil, the fibres for fabrics, and any leftovers as animal feed or field fertilizer. Volta’s world-leading supplier, Bcomp of Switzerland, uses the harvested Flax fibre to create their ampliTex technical fabric – a natural and fully sustainable technical fabric.

The Flax fibre’s quality, yarn thickness and twist are all highly engineered, and the weave is reinforced by Bcomp’s patented powerRibs grid technology, inspired by the principles of leaf veins. The result is a fully natural, extremely lightweight, high-performance fibre reinforcement that is almost CO2 neutral over its lifecycle. The panels made with powerRibs can match the stiffness and weight of carbon fibre but uses 75% less CO2 to produce.

The Flax matting is then combined with a biodegradable resin by world-class composites manufacturer, Bamd in the UK, to produce the body panels for the Volta Zero. The fully bio- based resin, derived from Rape Seed oil, creates a naturally brown coloured matting. A black natural pigment dye is added to complete its darker, technical appearance. Bamd’s revolutionary manufacturing processes aims for total recyclability of all tooling materials, including solvent-free, water-based sealers and release agents.

Unlike the conductive nature of carbon fibre, the Flax composite is non-conductive, lessening any issues of a short circuit in the event of a vehicle accident. It also offers up to three times better vibration damping. Should an accident occur, the Flax composite bends, reshapes and ultimately snaps, unlike carbon fibre that shatters, offering a flexible fracture behaviour without sharp edges. This makes the powerRibs and ampliTex composite body panels particularly suited for urban mobility, reducing the risk of sharp debris that can injure people or cause further accidents through punctures.

At the end of their useful life, Flax composite parts can be burnt within the standard waste management system and used for thermal energy recovery, unlike alternative composite materials that are usually sent to landfill.

Volta Trucks aims to mitigate the environmental impact of logistics and freight deliveries that forms the commercial lifeblood of large metropolitan cities. Thanks to its full-electric drivetrain and 160-200KWh of battery power, the Volta Zero will operate for 150-200 kilometers delivering freight and parcels across the world’s cities in a clean and efficient way. By 2025 operators of Volta Trucks will eliminate around 180,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Volta Zero will also improve a city’s noise pollution and enable 24-hour usage for its operator.

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Posted By : Nishith Sharma on Sat, 11 Jul 2020
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