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VOLTA ZERO world’s first purpose-built electric truck preparing for comeback in Europe in 2024

Aenert news. Industrial tours

Swedish Volta Trucks built up a company in a few years that would manufacture a new type of electric trucks for transport inside the cities. For four years, the management of Volta Trucks has rapidly built up the company.

They developed a new type of electric truck, established themselves in several places in Europe and had everything ready to start manufacturing trucks on a full scale.

According to a company statement, Volta Zero was designated to become the “world’s first purpose-built 16-tonne all-electric truck, that would have contributed to decarbonising the environment and enhanced the health and safety and air quality of urban centres”. 

Like all scale-ups in the EV manufacturing sector, Volta Trucks has faced challenges along the way. Just when the company was about to speed up production in Q3 2023, the investors were hesitant to raise more capital. The fact that US battery supplier (Proterra Inc) has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in August 2023, has had a significant impact on Volta’s manufacturing plans, reducing the volume of vehicles that they had forecast to produce.
The Swedish startup was predicted to have a bright future in the truck industry, but already in October 2023 the company has been declared bankrupt.

In December 2023, the hedge fund Luxor Capital bought the British business and assets of Volta Trucks and founded its own subsidiary, Volta Commercial Vehicles Ltd.
The new company is registered in the UK and re-launch activities are now underway with a team of around 150 employees. Joint planning with Steyr Automotive in Austria targets resuming series production later this year.

The uncertainty of Volta’s battery supplier negatively affected the plans to deliver 150 Volta Zero trucks in 2023 to DB Schenker, which is one the very first companies to show concrete interest in the all-electric trucks.
However, according to Volta, initial customer tests have already begun in the UK. A larger fleet of vehicles will then be available in the second quarter of 2024, covering Germany, France, the Nordic countries and Austria.
According to the company, the first objective for 2024 is to begin deliveries by year-end to its waiting customers in Germany, followed by France, UK and Scandinavia.

“We’re looking to confirm orders with existing customers, reassemble the supply chain, complete a crucial fundraising round, and ensure series vehicles are ready for delivery,” says Essa Al-Saleh, CEO of the new Volta Trucks Commercial Vehicles Ltd. “Right now, we are in the midst of discussions with all our suppliers and partners to enable these objectives. We have learned a lot from our challenging journey and are emerging stronger and more focused than ever.”

Since the presentation of the Zero in 2020, Volta Trucks had raised around 300 million euros from investors and said it had an order book of more than 5,000 vehicles.

In addition to impressive order book, Volta Trucks had other ambitious projects, for example it joined forces with CAKE - a Swedish manufacturer of high-end, lightweight electric motorcycles,  to provide world’s first electric microhub for last-mile deliveries. This was a joint initiative for providing global fashion giant the H&M Group with fully integrated, electric deliveries to its customers in Paris. Realistically this project is unlikely to happen, since CAKE filed for bankruptcy in Sweden in February 2024.

Volta Trucks aims to accelerate the transition to a full-electric delivery vehicle fleet, to help make city centres safer and more sustainable for all, however this project showcased again how supply chains can disrupt even promising EV ventures due to supply chain challenges.

Volta now is also looking forward to partnering with customers to have the distinctive Volta Zero on the road during this summer’s Paris Olympics.

With the City of Paris aiming to create the most green Olympics ever, this is a perfect opportunity for our logistics and consumer-brand customers to showcase the future of urban logistics,” concluded Essa Al-Saleh.

Text by Jana Janicka and photos by Ion Ciorici