Sweden’s Volta raises $260 million at a valuation of $490 million to put its all-electric trucks into production by the end of this year – TechCrunch

Startups

Volta Trucks — the Swedish electric-vehicle start-up that believes it can build better city-delivery vehicles and other trucks that are safer and have a smaller carbon footprint than their gas-guzzling, clunky, existing counterparts — has closed a major funding round to help it through that last mile of work before its Volta Zero trucks go into commercial production later this year.

The company has raised €230 million (approximately $260 million), a Series C financing round that appears to value the company at just over $490 million (€433 million). Volta will use the money to fund engineering and business operations before the first trucks roll off the assembly line, on the back of what appears to be a healthy list of customers: Volta said the pre-order book for its all-electric Volta Zero — reportedly the first all-electric, purpose-built commercial freight vehicle designed for urban freight distribution – currently worth more than €1.2 billion, representing more than 5,000 vehicles. Volta’s broader business strategy will be based on both selling trucks and offering its vehicles on a trucking-as-a-service model.

New York-based Luxor Capital, which led the €37 million series B in September 2021, is also leading this round. Real estate investment firm Byggmästare Anders J Ahlström (as Volta, based in Stockholm), supply chain services giant Agility, and B-FLEXION (formerly Waypoint Capital) also participated. While Volta hasn’t disclosed its valuation, Pitchbook data notes it’s now just over $490 million — a figure we’ve also now confirmed with sources close to the company.

Volta’s growth and the large amount of capital it has now raised – more than $325 million to date – are part of a bigger turnaround in the automotive world. Startups, leveraging new manufacturing techniques, new battery technology and new energy infrastructure, see a ripe opportunity to build new vehicles to disrupt the current status quo with safer and cleaner alternatives.

Investors – likely impressed by the success of electric efforts like Tesla’s smaller cars – are putting their money into these ventures to give them more firepower and more credibility with potential customers. These are all essential building blocks to catapult cars into the next wave of technological innovation, with trucks like Volta’s becoming hardware platforms that can collect and interact with huge sets of data to help the vehicles and the companies that use them operate at new levels of productivity. to work.

At least that’s the theory. The process to get there inevitably gets slower and more expensive than initial rosy projects, which is another reason why it’s important for companies in the space to collect big rounds and bring together groups of strategic lenders to help them on the road. to come to market.

Volta’s roadmap this year includes investments in its engineering and manufacturing activities to build prototypes to verify its designs for the Volta Zero.

These, in turn, will be rolled out to early customers for pilots in London and Paris, cities where vans are commonplace but also dangerous given the traffic congestion, narrow streets and the proliferation of cyclists and other micromobility users, making them ideal markets for Volta’s. trucks, which claim not only to produce fewer emissions – the first trucks will have a pure electric range of 150 – 200 km (95 – 125 miles) and eliminate an estimated 1.2 million tons of CO2 by 2025, but have significantly better visibility ( 220 degrees, with the driver in the center of the front seat) in front of his drivers. At first, they don’t seem to have self-driving capabilities.

“We are exploring autonomy/self-driving for the future, but as a vehicle specifically designed as a city center distribution and delivery vehicle, the goods must be delivered in the vehicle’s vehicle to their final destination. As a result, the target of the vehicle will always require an involved person, making self-driving less relevant for this type of vehicle,” said a spokesperson.

Volta said it will also use some of the funding to continue developing smaller ones Full-electric Volta Zero derivatives of 7.5 and 12 tons (the first model will be 16 tons), and eventually a larger model of 18 tons.

The company is building a production facility in Austria, with plans to produce 5,000 vehicles by 2023; 14,000 trucks in 2024; and up to 27,000 trucks by 2025.

“The successful and oversubscribed close of our Series C funding round gives us positive external validation of our journey,” Volta Trucks CEO Essa Al-Saleh said in a statement. “As an innovator and disruptor in commercial vehicles, we operate at a leading pace and have significant ambitions. The closing of the Series C financing round today, which brings in €230 million in the business, gives us the financial starting point to achieve all of our goals in transitioning from a start-up to an all-electric truck manufacturer. The confirmation of our order book of more than 5,000 vehicles with an order book value of more than €1.2 billion gives us and our investors confidence that our groundbreaking product and service offerings are both desired and needed by our customers.”

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