Sometimes, despite the best of plans and intentions, businesses don’t make it. Unfortunately, this is true also for those who hope to change the world for the better. Earlier today, Swedish electric lorry startup Volta Trucks announced it had filed for bankruptcy, following the failure of its battery supplier this summer.
The security of the supply chain can make or break a hardware company — or market. We have seen massive delays in aircraft deliveries from OEMs when partners struggle with staff shortages, and the geopolitical vulnerability of the semiconductor value chain from the South China Sea has caused a frantic billion dollar spend across the US and the EU to shore up supply.
In August, EV battery developer Proterra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. In an unfortunate chain reaction, this put a cap on production for Volta Trucks, making the company fall short on targets. This “negatively affected our ability to raise sufficient capital in an already challenging capital-raising environment for electric-vehicle players,” according to a statement from the company’s board.
Electric truck production commenced in spring
Volta Trucks was founded in 2019 by Scandinavian entrepreneur Carl-Magnus Norden and co-founder Kjell Waloen. In November last year, the company raised roughly €600mn. It commenced production of its 16 tonnes truck in April this year, and was targeting an IPO in 2024.
Volta Trucks has about 5,000 pre-orders of its Volta Zero, a 150-200km range, 7 tonne payload truck that was to come in a regular and a refrigerated edition. It employs 850 people, roughly 600 of whom are located across sites in the UK.
Volta Trucks is one of several Swedish heavy transport EV startups. Stockholm-based autonomous electric freight vehicle producer Einride, founded in 2016, is already operating its trucks across Europe and the US, and recently announced its expansion to the Middle East.
Meanwhile, established manufacturers such as Scania are re-engineering their products for more sustainable operations. This includes covering lorries in solar panels, and collaborating with battery startup success and compatriot Northvolt for long-range zero-emission trucks.