Why and how to joyfully move our butts around town, without mucking the place up.


; Date: September 19, 2017

Tags: Proterra »»»» Electric Buses

STEREOTYPE: A full-size electric bus would necessarily have a short range. A vehicle that big can't possibly be practical as an electric vehicle, except for uselessly short routes for a company wishing to greenwash itself. In other words, conventional wisdom would say an electric bus can't be used for regular transit routes, who why even try.

Proterra just proved all those stereotypical ideas to be completely wrong. Driving a heavy-duty electric bus for 1,100 miles is an astonishing feat. It's doubly astonishing considering the previous record, 1,013 miles, was set by a light-duty passenger bus 46 times lighter than the Proterra Catalyst E3 used in this record-setting run.

Proterra appears to have a winning combination on their hands. Battery prices are falling rapidly, and electric buses have a significantly lower fuel cost than diesel buses. Between those two factors, electric buses could quickly become the most financially pragmatic choice for transit fleets. Falling battery prices mean Proterra should be able to rapidly drive down the cost for their electric buses. The low fuel cost will make these buses financially attractive to transit operators, and a lower up-front price will only increase that attractiveness.

On the heels of this announcement Proterra is claiming a nominal 400 mile range for the Catalyst E2. This is well beyond the typical driving range required for intra-city transit routes, and is closer to what's required on long-distance bus routes.

Also today, Proterra announced a battery partnership with LG Chem. Given what LG Chem has done to enable long driving range for many electrics, this record is surely due in part to this partnership with LG Chem.

Proterra’s heavy-duty battery-electric bus beats all electric vehicle range achievements to date

Burlingame, Calif. – September 19, 2017 – Today Proterra, the leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation, announced it has set a world record for driving the longest distance ever traveled by an electric vehicle on a single charge at the Navistar Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Indiana. Proterra’s 40-foot Catalyst E2 max traveled 1,101.2 miles this month with 660 kWh of energy storage capacity. For the last three consecutive years, Proterra has demonstrated improved range and battery performance. Last September, Proterra drove 603 miles with 440kWh of energy storage, and in 2015, Proterra drove 258 miles with 257kWh of energy storage on a single charge. This year’s world record range marks exceptional performance improvements over prior years, and underscores Proterra’s commitment to innovation and accelerating the mass adoption of heavy-duty electric vehicles.

“For our heavy-duty electric bus to break the previous world record of 1,013.76 miles — which was set by a light-duty passenger EV 46 times lighter than the Catalyst E2 max — is a major feat,” said Matt Horton, Proterra’s chief commercial officer. “This record achievement is a testament to Proterra’s purpose-built electric bus design, energy-dense batteries and efficient drivetrain.”

Beyond meeting transit agencies’ range requirements, the Catalyst E2 max is poised to make a significant impact on the transit market because of its low operational cost per mile compared to conventional fossil fuel powered buses. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, lithium-ion battery prices have dropped by roughly 72 percent since 2010, and the economics for batteries continue to improve. Between li-ion battery cost savings and improving vehicle efficiency, electric vehicles represent the most disruptive mode of transport today.

“Driven by the best cost savings-per-mile, we believe the business case for heavy-duty electric buses is superior to all other applications, and that the transit market will be the first to transition completely to battery-electric powered vehicles,” said Ryan Popple, Proterra CEO. “Early electric bus adopters like our first customer, Foothill Transit, have paved the way for future heavy-duty applications, like motor coaches and commercial trucks. As we see incumbents and more companies enter the heavy-duty EV market, it has become very apparent that the future is all-electric, and the sun is setting on combustion engine technology.”

About Proterra

Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles, enabling bus fleet operators to significantly reduce operating costs while delivering clean, quiet transportation to local communities across the United States. With more than 400 vehicles sold to 42 different municipal, university and commercial transit agencies in 20 states, Proterra is committed to providing state of the art, high-performance vehicles to meet today’s growing market demand. The company’s configurable Catalyst platform is capable of serving the full daily mileage needs of nearly every U.S. transit route on a single charge. With unmatched durability and energy efficiency based on rigorous U.S. certification testing, Proterra products are proudly designed, engineered and manufactured in America, with offices in Silicon Valley, South Carolina, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit: (www.proterra.com) http://www.proterra.com and follow us on Twitter @Proterra_Inc.

David Herron
David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.