Volta Trucks bounces back from bankruptcy, resumes ‘sharpened’ commercial EV business plan

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Less than six months after a seemingly dooming bankruptcy filing, Volta Trucks has reemerged from the ashes, fresh with redemptive capital and a leaned-down business plan. The commercial EV startup can now resume its work in delivering its electric last-mile trucks to customers this year.

Volta Trucks is a UK-based commercial EV startup that spent nearly four years working toward initial deliveries of its flagship commercial truck, the Volta Zero. We reported on much of that journey, from a mere vehicle design sketch in 2019 to a prototype launch less than a year later.

We saw several rounds of funding bolstered by a number of pre-orders for its expanding lineup of the Zero Trucks, as well as plans to expand into the US. By 2023, Volta appeared poised to hit the European market following more purchase commitments and necessary certification in place to begin official sales.

Volta began series production in Austria ahead of those planned deliveries in Q3 2023, but things started to go south once its battery supplier Proterra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last summer.

By October 2023, Volta Trucks announced that it, too, was filing for bankruptcy, citing tight capital markets. A month later, however, we reported that Luxor Capital Group – a shareholder in Volta Trucks and one of its largest lenders – was finalizing a deal to purchase the startup from bankruptcy and keep the operation going.

Today, as we enter Q2 of 2024, Volta Trucks has confirmed the acquisition by Luxor Capital, giving the commercial EV startup the financial runway to continue its work, albeit under a more focused, leaned-down business strategy.

Volta trucks
The newly revived Volta Zero truck / Source: Volta Trucks

Volta Trucks hones in on EV deliveries in Europe

Volta reemerged today with details of its 2.0 business, led by new owner Luxor Capital with a honed-in focus on providing its Zero commercial trucks to fleet customers in Europe. The revived company is now called Volta Commercial Vehicles Ltd and remains registered in the UK with a team of around 150 employees, down from over 750 working globally in its previous iteration.

The funding from Luxor has enabled the startup to resume development of its 16t and 18t Volta Zero trucks ahead of plans for series production in Austria later this year with contract manufacturer Steyr Automotive. Volta CEO Essa Al-Saleh spoke about the company’s second life and restructured business plan:

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. 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.

During the last couple of months, we have analyzed our original business plan and worked hard to simplify our business model with a strong focus on speed to market, capital efficiency and profitability. The new Volta Trucks will provide an innovative “chassis-cab” product, supported by a tailored Maintenance and Service offering andcpartnerships with certified Body Builders. We believe this will best support ourccustomers’ immediate needs and facilitate the electrification transition

Volta shared that customer trials in live Zero trucks operations are once again underway in the UK ahead of compliance toward GSR-2 (General Safety Regulation) standards that will go into effect in July. Beyond the UK, Volta Trucks says its customer trials will expand in Q2 to customers in Germany, France, Nordics, and Austria.

Luxor Capital’s funding of the revived startup includes an initial round of convertible financing over the next month, followed by a Series-A round for investors scheduled for the middle of 2024. Volta expects the Series-A round to deliver enough capital to begin Zero Truck series production and deliver its first EVs to customers.

With a pending presence in France in the works, the commercial EV startup also shared intentions to establish customer partnerships that will enable distinctive Zero trucks to navigate roads during this summer’s 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

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