Paris pilot pairs electric motorcycles and truck for last mile delivery

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by Emily Atkins

A new pilot project in Paris will see a swarm of electric motorcycles fanning out from an electric truck to make last mile deliveries for retailer H&M.

Starting in the first quarter of 2023, a Volta Zero truck – a full-electric 16-tonne vehicle – will act as a mobile warehouse and carrier for the motorbikes, which will be provided by Cake, a Swedish manufacturer.  The motorcycles will be loaded into the Volta Zero from the distribution centre at the start of the working day and deployed into the city centre. Battery swaps can be managed at the truck.

Parcels will be delivered from the truck, via motorcycle to nearby customers. When those deliveries are done, the truck can return to the main DC, reload and move to a new neighbourhood.

The system will reduce the length of trips required to complete individual deliveries because they start from the micro-hub truck, parked on a city street. Likewise, both the truck and bikes are zero-emission, reducing the overall environmental footprint of the deliveries.

“Most of our customers are using trucks to deliver from out-of-town warehouses to inner city stores,” said Volta Trucks CEO Essa Al-Saleh.

“But as a forward-thinking brand, we’ve always sought innovative partners to deliver new and industry-redefining solutions. The partnership between Volta Trucks and Cake will showcase how a combination of zero tailpipe emission transport solutions can bring benefit to brands and customers, such as the H&M Group, and city centre environments.”

Volta Trucks and Cake were both founded to tackle modern challenges of transportation. Focused on two very different vehicle platforms, yet sharing the same objectives, the integration of the two technologies offers immediate opportunities for retailers serving the rapidly growing e-commerce delivery industry.

“As the majority of today’s last-mile delivery chains will soon be banned in many of the world’s largest cities, world-leading e-commerce consumer brands need to engage in future-proof concepts now,” said Stefan Ytterborn, founder and CEO of Cake. “Solutions need to be developed to offer lower emissions and less congestion, while benefiting from far more efficient deliveries all the way to the end customer. This innovative mobility ecosystem that the three brands are trialling is setting a clear direction for both healthier cities and business advantages.”

The Volta Zero is a purpose-built for urban logistics, reducing the environmental impact of freight deliveries in city centres. It has an operating pure-electric range of 150 – 200 km. The operator sits in a central driving position, with a much lower seat height than a conventional truck. A glass house cab design gives the driver a wide 220-degrees of visibility, minimizing dangerous blind spots.

The prototype Volta Zero was launched in September 2020, with the first vehicles expected to be operating with customers in late 2022. In November 2021, Volta Trucks announced Europe’s largest purchase of full-electric trucks with DB Schenker’s order of 1,470 vehicles. This followed Petit Forestier’s order of 1,000 Volta Zeros. Volta Trucks now has a total order bank of around 6,500 vehicles, with an order bank value of circa €1.4 billion.

Cake’s electric motorcycle model range currently consists of three different platforms – the offroader, Kalk; the modular utility bike, Ösa; and the urban commuter, Makka.