Volta Trucks and European rental firm Petit Forestier Group have partnered to make a refrigerated 100% electric commercial vehicle available to hire from 2022.

The partnership sees Petit Forestier ordering 1,000 16-tonne Volta Zeros, representing the largest order to date for Swedish technology start-up Volta Trucks.

The all-electric CVs will join the rental firm’s tally of more than 58,500 vehicles and will be equipped by Lecapitaine, Petit Forestier Group’s industrial subsidiary and major designer and manufacturer of refrigerated bodywork

Both companies’ design teams have already started collaborating on the integration of the box body and refrigeration technology, with the first model expected to head into trials in 2021.

This will be followed by full production in 2022.

It is not yet confirmed how many of the refrigerated models will be heading to UK roads.

The partnership between the two businesses will also extend to cover all refrigerated vehicles sold by Volta Trucks.

In addition to the acquisition of 1,000 vehicles, the strategic collaboration will focus on the co-development of skills across the workforce.

In particular, technical expertise in the maintenance of electric vehicles, to offer a full-service solution to end customers and facilitate and simplify the operational deployment of the new technology across Petit Forestier Group’s 280 branches.

Léonard Forestier, CEO of the Petit Forestier Group, said the partnership fits perfectly with the company’s ambitions: “This partnership embodies our desire to significantly increase our pace in terms of innovation and energy transition of our fleet.

“We are taking action now to prepare for the future and to provide our customers with the best zero-emission refrigeration solutions, designed for their urban deliveries. We are delighted to work with the teams at Volta Trucks and to jointly help make our cities more pleasant.”

Welcoming the announcement, CEO at Volta Trucks, Rob Fowler, added: “Entering into a strategic long-term partnership to supply 1,000 vehicles to Petit Forestier, the leading refrigerated truck rental company in Europe, and working with Lecapitaine to integrate a refrigerated solution to the Volta Zero, will strengthen Volta Trucks’ position as the leading manufacturer of electric commercial vehicles.

“When we launched the Volta Zero, we knew that there was a pent-up demand for the electrification of trucks. The unprecedented reaction from our customers, decarbonising their fleets to meet forthcoming legislation, and improving the environment for everyone, has more than validated our expectations.”