Volta readies electric trucks for Europe, with US suppliers

Sweden-based Volta Trucks is readying an electric commercial vehicle for the European market, but it’s relying on suppliers based in the United States for key components.

The company announced Wednesday that Proterra will the battery supplier for its Volta Zero truck, which is scheduled to start customer trials later this year. Series production is scheduled to start around 12 months after that, putting “tens of thousands” of trucks on European roads, according to Volta.

Proterra has been a longtime maker of electric buses, and has garnered investments from BMW and General Motors in the past. This marks Proterra’s entry into the European market, Volta noted.

Technical details weren’t released, but Proterra’s latest battery packs for buses use NCM 811 cylindrical cells. Volta expects the Zero, which is designed for inner-city freight deliveries, to achieve 95 miles to 125 miles of range (likely as measured on the European testing cycle).

Volta Zero

Volta Zero

The battery-supply announcement comes shortly after Volta confirmed that Michigan-based Meritor will supply e-axle units for the truck.

Volta hasn’t discussed a U.S. launch, but with Proterra and Meritor as suppliers, it’s looking more likely. The company faces a long list of competitors in the burgeoning electric commercial-vehicle business.

One possible rival—one that appears to incorporate a lot of style in its delivery trucks in the same way—might be Arrival, which is currently setting up a “microfactory” in South Carolina. While that factory is slated to build buses, Arrival is also developing an electric delivery van based on the same platform. In 2020, Arrival announced a deal to supply 100,000 of the vans to UPS.

The list of companies planning electric trucks has grown tremendously over the past year, with traditional brands like Kenworth offering Class 6 and Class 7 electric medium-duty trucks.

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