Swedish electric start-up Volta Trucks files for bankruptcy

EV truck start-up Volta has filed for bankruptcy in its home country, Sweden. The company’s subsidiaries in other countries, like the UK, will follow suit. The fall-out is linked to Volta’s battery manufacturer, which filed for Chapter 11 in the US.

In an official statement, the company said: “The recent news that our battery supplier has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy has had a significant impact on our manufacturing plans, reducing the volume of vehicles we had forecast to produce. The uncertainty with our battery supplier also negatively affected our ability to raise sufficient capital in an already challenging capital-raising environment for electric vehicle players.”

Chapter 11

Volta Truck’s battery supplier was Proterra, which also has an ailing bus department that dragged the company into a dire financial situation with rising material costs. The company already filed for Chapter 11 during the first week of August, which has triggered a chain of events leading to Volta going bust as well. Proterra had too many projects to worry about and couldn’t scale them up efficiently. The battery maker, claiming class-leading technology, continues to operate, hoping to reboot itself under the Chapter 11 ruling.

Proterra’s difficulties couldn’t have come at a worse time for Volta Trucks, as the company was readying to scale up production and deliver trucks to waiting customers. The company’s CEO Tomas Bergström called the decision “a big disappointment.”

Filled order book

Volta Trucks was founded in 2017 by Carl-Magnus Norden and Kjell Walloën. The company had started series production of its Volta Zero, a 16-tonne zero-emission truck purpose-built for last-mile delivery in urban areas, at Magna-Steyr in Graz. The Zero offered a range of up to 200 kilometers and was the first of its kind. The driver has a central seating position in the glasshouse cockpit for increased visibility.

The order book was filled for 6 500 units since the model was unveiled in 2020, and the company had strategic partnerships with companies like French Petit Forestier and Nordic Posten Bring. Volta was also working on a Truck-as-a-Service model.

Different economic reality

The company failed to attract investors to save it from insolvency, so it seems it’s right up the alley with Dutch solar car maker Lightyear, which also went bankrupt just as the critical and money-consuming production ramp-up phase was at hand.

Volta Trucks joins the list of stumbling EV start-ups, which developed an idea and subsequent concept in a time window that has been caught up by a completely different economic reality when the assembly is finally on the table. Only a few seem to survive, and not seldomly; these received backing from legacy automakers like Rivian, which had a deal with Ford.

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