The Energy Storage Report 2024

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Volvo Group buys bankrupt Proterra; Volvo Penta providing EV charging BESS


Volvo Group has acquired the US battery pack company Proterra out of bankruptcy, while its power solutions arm Volvo Penta is providing its BESS sub-system for EV charging infrastructure solutions.

Volvo Group, which mainly provides large vehicles, construction equipment and power solutions across various industries, won an auction for the business and assets of Proterra Inc and Proterra Operating Company Inc for US$210 million.

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Proterra is a US-based provider of battery packs for industry, electric buses and EV charging infrastructure and is in a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, with the transaction expected to close in 2024. Volvo Group will inherit a development centre for battery modules and packs in California and an assembly factory in South Carolina.

The announcement coincided with one from Volvo Group’s power solutions subsidiary Volvo Penta, that it was providing its BESS sub-system to to companies providing EV charging infrastructure-integrated BESS solutions.

That includes a partnership with TecnoGen, part of diesel powered generators manufacturer Bruno Generators Group, whereby the pair will collaborate to support charging infrastructure for electric heavy vehicles. An example solution is pictured above. interviewed Penta’s VP product management for its Industrial Business Prabhakaran Sundaramurthi in May, shortly after it announced the launch of its BESS sub-system.

A sub-system comprises the battery system, battery management, monitoring, thermal management, power distribution box and cabling and technical integration expertise but not an energy management system (EMS), SCADA platform (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) or container design.

The sub-system uses the battery technology that Penta has developed in-house for its electrification solutions, and with Volvo Penta being a relatively small part of Volvo Group (4% of revenues in 2022) it is not clear whether any of the integration of Proterra will affect or benefit its BESS activity. Some 86% of Volvo Group’s revenues last were were from the sale of trucks and construction equipment.

Another subsidiary of Volvo Group, Volvo Energy, has made forays into second life energy storage. In September it signed a letter of intent to jointly develop a BESS using batteries from Volvo’s vehicle line with UK firm Connected Energy. 

Proterra was among the companies that had holdings with Silicon Valley Bank before the institution’s untimely demise earlier this year, although all deposits were protected by the US government.

Rolls-Royce launches BESS-integrated EV charging

Penta’s move into EV charging-integrated BESS came at the same time as one from Rolls-Royce Holdings, which has supplied three mtu EnergyPacks to system integrator Eigen Energy for Shell EV charging stations in Singapore (mtu is a brand and subsidiary of Rolls-Royce).

The BESS units will help integrate electricity from PV systems in to the charging patterns while also offsetting peak energy loads, as well as providing electricity back to the grid when needed.

It’s important to note that both Volvo Group and Rolls-Royce Holdings are entirely separate companies from those which manufacture and sell the consumer vehicle products which have their respective brand names. Volvo Group sold Volvo Cars in the 1990s while Rolls-Royce vehicles have been manufactured and sold by BMW since 1998.

Rolls-Royce Holdings develops and delivers complex power and propulsion solutions for industries across air, land and sea. The company has been delivering BESS solutions for several years now through its Power Systems division, including mtu.

Last year it announced it was deploying a 63MWh BESS in the Netherlands, the then-largest announced project in the country until a 68MWh one was announced by system integrator Alfen. reported on Volvo Cars’ (now listed independently on the Stockholm Nasdaq) own foray into the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) space last week.

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