At the Wired 2016 conference in London, the self-driven electric delivery van has been unveiled that could take on the street of London next year. Businessman Denis Sverdlov is the chief executive of Charge, the firm responsible for this truck, and he says “We find trucks today totally unacceptable. Loud, polluting and unfriendly. So, we are making trucks the way they should be — affordable, elegant, quiet, clean and safe.”
The vehicle’s stripped-back design and ultra-lightweight materials mean it can be assembled by one person in four hours, the firm behind it claims. The truck is an electric vehicle built from lightweight composite materials, which reduce the weight of the vehicle. It comes with a modular design, meaning that it can easily be customised before assembly.
Sverdlov added: “We are removing all the barriers to entry for electric vehicles by pricing them in line with conventional trucks, giving every fleet manager, tradesperson or company, no matter how big or small, the opportunity to change the way they transport goods and make our towns and cities better places to live in.”
It is “autonomous-ready” for when self-driving regulations are in place. The UK government plans on having self-driving cars travelling UK streets by 2020. Charge’s self-drive software was developed along with the vehicle itself and can be uploaded the instant the regulations become official.
Charge plans to open a factory in Oxfordshire next year with a team of 10, working two shifts a day to assemble 10,000 trucks in the first year. Charge plans to develop trucks in a range of sizes from 3.5 to 26 tonnes and is in talks with the major truck fleet firms. The firm is an official partner of Formula E – the electric car racing competition – with its trucks being used for the drive parade and for logistics on and off the track.