Volta Trucks, a start-up full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services company, has confirmed the appointment of Dr Seshu Bhagavathula to its Board of Directors. Dr Bhagavathula had superannuated from Ashok Leyland last month.
The company says Dr Bhagavathula brings “a wealth of global automotive, commercial vehicle industry, and vehicle electrification experience to the start-up”. Dr Bhagavathula will also act as an advisor to the Volta Trucks Management Team, and his appointment is effective immediately.
Volta Trucks has offices in the UK and Sweden and has partnered with a number of industry-leading design and engineering companies to develop the Zero, including Prodrive, Astheimer and Magtec.
Dr Bhagavathula joins the Board of Volta Trucks from Ashok Leyland Group, India’s second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, where he held the position of President of New Technologies and Business Initiatives. In this role, he was responsible for product and portfolio planning and converting new technologies including vehicle electrification into new business initiatives for business and commercial benefit.
Prior to his appointment as President, he undertook the role of Ashok Leyland’s Chief Technology Officer with responsibility for the Group-wide Research and Development of heavy duty, medium duty, and lightweight commercial vehicles as well as the Group’s electric vehicle projects and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, from level 1 to Level 4.
Dr Bhagavathula has also held the position of Vice-President, R&D for China’s Great Wall Motor Company as well as a number of senior director and managerial roles within R&D for Daimler Trucks and Daimler Chrysler AG.
Dr Bhagavathula holds a Doctorate in high-frequency technology from the University of Stuttgart in Germany. He has several patents in automotive technology fields and has about 35 technical publications to his credit. He has also guided his previous employers on private equity and other investments in e-mobility related technologies.
Welcoming Dr Bhagavathula to the Board of Directors of Volta Trucks, Chairman of the Board and representative of one of the company’s main shareholders, Tomas Bergstrom, said; “Seshu Bhagavathula will bring an extensive global knowledge of the automotive and commercial vehicle industry to the Board of Directors of Volta Trucks. His in-depth understanding and experience, especially in the field of electrification, will support the Board and help guide the company as it transitions from a start-up to the manufacturer of the first purpose-built full electric large commercial vehicle.”
With a full-electric drivetrain, and 160-200KWh of battery power, the Volta Zero will operate for 150-200km, delivering freight across the world’s cities. By 2025, Volta aims to remove 180,000 tonnes of CO2 from city centres: the equivalent annual CO2 usage of 24,000 houses.
Volta Zero gets ready
The Volta Zero is the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne vehicle designed for inner-city freight deliveries, reducing the environmental impact of freight deliveries in city centres. Designed from the ground up with an operating pure-electric range of 150 - 200km (95 – 125 miles), the Volta Zero will eliminate an estimated 180,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2025.
Safety is also at the heart of Volta Trucks, with its ambition of being the safest large commercial vehicle manufacturer. The Volta Zero was designed for electric from the outset, which facilitates a step-change in vehicle and pedestrian safety. Thanks to the removal of the internal combustion engine, the operator of a Volta Zero sits in a central driving position, with a much lower seat height than a conventional truck. This combination, plus a glass house-style cab design, gives the driver a wide 220-degrees of visibility, minimising dangerous blind spots.
The first prototype Volta Zero is currently being built, and will be launched later in 2020, with the first pilot test vehicles due to start evaluation with customers in Q1-2021.