Electric Bus Maker Proterra Raises Additional $30 Million

JUN 29 2014 BY MARK KANE 7

Proterra Solution

Proterra Solution

Proterra announced that it has raised more than $30 million in additional funding from new and existing investors.

The electric bus manufacturer, based in Greenville, SC, stated that “participation in this round of funding was bolstered by rapidly growing demand for electric vehicles in transit, as well as additional deployments by existing customers“.

There is no information on how many orders Proterra is waiting to fullfill, but the first generation (the EcoRide BE35) seems to have been sold out for several months, while the Solution (2nd generation) should be introduced later this year:

“The company’s first generation product build slots are filled through the remainder of the year, and Proterra plans to introduce its new second generation product to the transit industry later this year.”

“Proterra is focused on purpose-built battery-electric vehicles for the transit industry. All elements of the vehicle, from the chassis to the charging system, are optimized and designed for one purpose—electric vehicle performance in a transit application. Its vehicle technology also incorporates state-of-the-art technologies like lightweight composites, a custom heavy-duty electric driveline and autonomous recharging. Proterra electric vehicles have logged over 400,000 zero-emission miles in 11 U.S. cities. This invaluable market experience with leading, early adopter transit agencies has been fully incorporated into Proterra’s next generation electric vehicle—a 40-foot transit bus that will be the lightest, most efficient and highest passenger capacity coach in its class. By combining performance, efficiency and design, the next generation Proterra vehicle will have the lowest per passenger cost and environmental impact of any transit technology—electric, diesel, hybrid or natural gas.”

Proterra EV Bus With Electrifying Appearance

Proterra EV Bus With Electrifying Appearance

This financing round was led by Kleiner Perkins and GM Ventures, but this is not end of fundraising activities, as another $10 million in funding is expected to close within the coming weeks.

“Edison Energy, Inc. and Constellation Technology Ventures, the venture capital arm of Exelon, have re-invested, expressing enthusiasm for the technology’s ability to allow the electrical grid to benefit consumers more broadly. Tao Invest, Vision Ridge Partners and Hennessey Capital also joined Kleiner Perkins and GM Ventures, with Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Inc. and 88 Green Ventures set to follow by month’s end. In conjunction with the investment closing, Michael Smith, Constellation vice president and head of Constellation Technology Ventures, will join Proterra’s Board.”

Proterra Solution

Proterra Solution

Proterra CEO Ryan Popple stated:

“This funding is a vote of continued confidence by our investors who represent leaders in the automotive, energy and tech industries of the increasing momentum for the electrification of transit and Proterra EV buses’ role in this effort. EV transit is no longer an idea for the future; it is real and working daily in cities across the country. EV technology is an ideal fit for urban transit, and this funding will accelerate Proterra’s ability to market a zero-emission, low-cost, clean option for urban mobility to more communities.”

Speaking on behalf of the company’s technology investors, Joby Pritzker of Tao Invest noted:

“Tao is committed to clean technologies that will have a profound effect on the world around us. Proterra is a natural fit for this investment strategy. Through its continued growth, Proterra has led the charge in electrifying transit, enhancing sustainable mobility options in urban environments across the country.”

Bert Valdman, senior vice president of strategic planning at Edison International, the parent company of Edison Energy commented:

“We are pleased to expand our investment in Proterra, which is playing a leading role in creating electric-powered transportation alternatives for mass transit systems. Our company has been a pioneer in the research and development of electric transportation technologies. For decades, we have been committed to enhancing and promoting the benefits provided by a variety of electric vehicles. In a region like California, where air quality is so important to our quality of life, it is critical to accelerate the electrification of mass transit capabilities throughout our communities.”

Proterra board member Michael Smith added:

“Proterra is changing the future of mass transit by offering transit agencies and commercial customers a zero-emission option and a user experience that’s far and away superior to anything that’s on the road right now. Proterra’s game-changing technology is more than just a fit with our core business as an energy provider; it has the potential to improve the quality of life for our customers in the communities we serve.”

Proterra Solution

Proterra Solution

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7 Comments on "Electric Bus Maker Proterra Raises Additional $30 Million"

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Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Last bus I took a week ago had a very bangy/jarring ride, very hard and unpleasant. Are these new electric buses equipped with air suspensions that adjust and can offer a smooth ride?

their website says they have:
multi- link air ride (4 bag suspension in the rear and independent front suspension.

They are using lithium titanate batteries

20.8 MPGe (1.8 kwh/mi), approx 26 miles/charge.

boy this implies a pretty small battery. Only around 50 kwh.

They need a cheaper battery. Too bad they couldn’t get some LG chem batteries.

curb wt is 27500 lbs (for 40 seated passengers), 40 ft length bus.

Looks like it is approx the same wt as a conventional 40′ bus.

800,000$ price tag but they claim 2-6 year pay off.

I like this bus.

They chose titanate for quick charging reasons. 10 minute charge (6C) for 50kWh is about 300kW.

However, that approach may not be as good as a large capacity approach. BYD buses have 324kWh of capacity and if charged at 1C will have the same 300kW rate.

Good input. an interesting trade off on battery size vs charge rate. Seems like a smaller battery with higher charge rates would be more cost effective since the batteries are the biggest expense. On the other hand 50 kwh seems like kind of a small battery for a bus this size. Especially in light of Tesla’s 85 kwh battery in the S.

Yeah. Lithium Titanate batteries have a lot lower energy density compared to regular lithium ion batteries.

At some point I expect they’ll switch back to one of the traditional lithium ion batteries just because of economies of scale will take over and more niche chemistries will become less economical.

Thanks for the warning…