Proterra Catalyst E2 Bus Debuts: 350 Miles Of Real World Range Via 660 kWh Battery

SEP 12 2016 BY JAY COLE 57

Proterra has unveiled the longest range, 40-foot bus to hit the market to date- the Catalyst E2, from the APTA (American Public Transit Association) annual meeting today in Los Angeles.

Prottera E2 Catalyst

Proterra E2 Catalyst

The new series of e-bus from Proterra has available battery storage capacities from 440 – 660 kWh – which is up to 6x more than the recently announced Tesla Model S/X P100DL.

What does this mean for the range abilities for the Catalyst E2?  Proterra explains:

“Last month, an E2 series vehicle achieved a new milestone at Michelin’s Laurens Proving Grounds where it logged more than 600 miles on a single charge under test conditions.

Its nominal range of 194 – 350 miles means the Catalyst E2 series is capable of serving the full daily mileage needs of nearly every U.S. mass transit route on a single charge and offers the transit industry the first direct replacement for fossil-fueled transit vehicles.”

To date, Proterra notes their electric buses have driven more than 2.6 million miles – displacing around 540,000 gallons of diesel; and that 2016 has been “a breakthrough year in the mass transit sector” for the company as 2016 sales are already 220% higher than that of 2015.

We note Proterra, thus far, has sold some ~312 e-buses to date in North America.

Proterra Catalyst E2 - Available With 440-650 kWh battery

Proterra Catalyst E2 – Available with 440 to 660 kWh battery options, and 194 to 350 miles of range

Surely adding a ~350 mile, “go anywhere” bus like the Catalyst E2 can’t do anything but further assist sales going forward.

“Proterra’s primary goal has always been to create a purpose-built, high-performance electric vehicle that can serve every single transit route in the United States. Today, with the unveiling of the Catalyst E2 Series, that goal has been achieved,” said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra. “The question is no longer who will be an early adopter of this technology, but rather who will be the last to commit to a future of clean, efficient, and sustainable mobility. With the Catalyst E2 offering a no-compromise replacement for all fossil fuel buses, battery-electric vehicles have now broken down the final barrier to widespread market adoption.”

Check out Proterra’s full lineup of configurable 35 and 40 foot Catalyst buses here.

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57 Comments on "Proterra Catalyst E2 Bus Debuts: 350 Miles Of Real World Range Via 660 kWh Battery"

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Amazing progress! I note that Seattle’s King County Metro has options on 200 Proterras. That’s a lot of diesel.

I don’t get the excitement of electric cars and buses. They aren’t environmentally friendly. Not unless they get their electricity to charge them from nuclear power. Most electricity is still generated by fossil fuels. Coal, natural gas and oil. So when you charge up your Tesla it’s still technically using fossil fuels.

linda, you have to realise that even if the electrons come from coal, those coal plants are way more efficient than any petrol engine could ever be by a factor of at least 2.
That statment has been debunked over and over again.
Less than 33% of the electricity comes from coal in the US
And with any EV, it will get better with time. Not so with any other vehicule propultion.
Welcome to Insideevs. stick around, you will learn a lot.

Electricity is one of the least efficient methods of transmitting energy. Only about 20 to 30% of what is produced actually reaches the end user. Most is lost in the form of heat in the transmission lines and transformers. So, with an already overloaded power grid, as more switch over the “clean” energy to load the grid even more and the environmentalist preventing hydroelectric dams being built or nuclear power plants, the problem is only going to worsen until the breakdown of the grid. Or maybe that’s what they really want.

That’s absolutely wrong. Transmission losses are about 6% on average, making the grid 94% efficient in transmitting and distributing electricity.

But don’t take my work for it. Here’s what U.S. government scientists have to say about the matter:

“How much electricity is lost in transmission and distribution in the United States?”

“The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that electricity transmission and distribution losses average about 6% of the electricity that is transmitted and distributed annually in the United States.”

Well, I think he was including the inefficiency of the power plant itself when totalling up the inefficiencies itself.

I could believe transmission efficiency averages 94%, at least when it isn’t raining and you have high corona losses on AC lines.

There are outliers of course, and the distribution to my neighborhood is about the worst you’ll find anywhere, where the losses approach 20% in the distribution phase alone.

And of course, NYC buying power from Quebec, there are significant losses especially during inclement weather, but your confiscatory rates make the losses fade into insignificance.

Just to simplify things…. yes it takes energy to generate electricity, just like it takes energy to generate gasoline. But electric vehicles use the power and create no pollution, where as a gasoline and diesel motors create pollution.

I live in Washington State where we rely on 0% nuclear power. Power is abundant, hydro is only generating at 40% (Grand Coulee Dam) and wind farms a plenty. Yes, there are still a few clean burning coal plants our govt is forcing us to pay off (corporate welfare) but essentially, we have proven the People can vote for change and it isn’t as doom and gloom as the opposition trys to convince us. I believe we are one of, if not the, lowest cost state for power. These busses are an amazing leap to help us stop subsidizing dirty oil and middle east interests against the West.

Is Energy Northwest, Columbia Generating Station not in WA State? Or is everything East of the Cascades not in WA?

How will that 660kWh battery be charged? Even a supercharger would take five and a half hours!

I have no idea how the long distance transit business works, so maybe standstill times of 10 hours aren’t a problem, but still.

Google is your friend.
Or this site proterra-keyworded archive.

Either option would take far less time than posting a 100% uninformed comment.

If I’m not mistaken bus chargers are typically 50 kW. No need for fast charging a bus like this that has the basic same range traveled per day. Just charge at 50 kW at the bus depot.

You are mis-informed.

ABB is already utilising a 600kW charging system in Switzerland. But it is merely a question of having a stationary battery big enough to dump the energy – assuming a sufficiently powerful mains supply cannot be used instead.

But I am not convinced a 600 mile range battery is needed anyway, in the same way that a 300 mile range EV battery isn’t needed either – not for the vast majority of vehicles, anyway. There are many other ways of extending an EVs range without using a bigger battery or a fossil fuel-buring engine particularly so in the case of a fixed route vehicle like a bus.

I can post really quick, especially when uninformed.

Still no real mention on how fast this bus can charge, only a patent that would enable up to 1.4MW. Which would be impressive if the words up and to weren’t so close together. Same with their website where they claim as little as 5 minutes, which would either be incredible, or missing a percentage number.

Please listen to other posters.

The link is provided at the end of the article, use it and all if not most of your answers are found there. The specs of the buses can also be found there.

Suck it BYD!

No, BYD has absolutely zero need to ‘suck it’ (whatever ‘it’ is).

1. It is doing quite well, thank you.
2. One has to possess a rather strange view and limited knowledge of EVs, to think that the e-Bus field right now is one of zero-sum competition. Proterra is basically the only other player outside the Chinese market, besides BYD – and BYD is orders of magnitude larger.
3. BYD already has e-Buses with roughly the same performance. Note that even Proterra’s advertising blurb suggests 350 miles is the very top of actual range expectations, so more realistically it’s around 250 miles.
4. It’s unclear at what point Proterra is ready to actually deliver those babies, and in what quantities.

Now that we’ve cleared things up, congrats to Proterra for the achievement, and here’s hoping for a fruitful and mutually successful competition in the e-Bus segment, one that finally draws the other bus makers into the fray!

“1. It is doing quite well, thank you.”

Yes, with a little help from their friends. BYD is doing quite and will continue doing quite well in the Chinese marketplace due to China’s protectionist trade laws that slap a huge 25% import tariff on imported EV buses, and require foreign EV bus manufacturers to form a joint venture with a Chinese company if they want to open up a factory in China to build EV buses in China. The joint venture must also own all the IP used to make the buses in China.

Now that the protectionist trade laws have helped make BYD a huge EV bus manufacturer with huge economies of scale, China is now leveraging these protectionist trade laws to gain an unfair advantage in foreign markets again much smaller domestic EV bus makers.

So tell me how Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Uber are doing in China. How does shutting these American companies out of the Chinese market benefit American workers and the American economy?

. . .‘suck it’ (whatever ‘it’ is).

It’s rigged.

Ahh, so BYD is only doing great because of they are communists with communist friends? And there I was, thinking that Warren Buffet is not a communist (what else can he be when he is invested in BYD?).
And America has some strange “free trading rules” too. Not talking about Tesla sales being practically illegal in some states, just ask a small start-up like Ford what hoops they have to jump through to import a Ford light duty van manufactured elswhere into the US of A… (and then you might find that the origin of this trouble for Ford and all other manufacturers who have to face the same struggles originates from a dispute about chicken in the early 1960s).

If you so excited, you may remember from history lessons that China has plenty of “fun” from free opium trade forced by Western military. Maybe they have some mixed feelings from that towards free trade ideology and are not hurrying to do what is not in their interest :/

Wait. I thought many of the ways EVs were inferior to HFCVs according to conventional wisdom (H2 lobby) was that they were too expensive and impractical to replace large diesel and gas vehicles like HFCVs could.

I guess HFCV proponents will have to now focus on customers that take frequent trips of over 400 miles and long-haul trucking.

They better hurry and get those thousands of multi-million dollar fueling stations built to accommodate those few long distance trip takers and get some of those practical long-haul HFC trucks on the road before EVs take that space as well.

“too expensive and impractical to replace large diesel and gas vehicles”
Yes, and it stays so for long range vehicles. The article says nothing about TCO. You may imagine 660 kWh weights and costs a lot even if it is technically easy to assemble such battery.

Not all heavy vehicles need to travel long routes though. City buses often travel shorter routes and can be recharged overnight.

Yes but I remember a time not to long ago just before BYD and Proterra were building busses when HFC busses were in fact used as proof that EVs were too impractical, heavy and expensive to replace ANY large vehicles.

In fact those comments at that time about the impracticaly of EV busses were very similar to the comments you just made about the long time-frame you speculate for the adoption of long-haul EVs.

660kWh * 150$ = 99 000 in battery pack alone.

How is TCO then?

I would think that fast charger + 60-70% of that battery size and fast charging mid day would be much much more profitable on routes that can accommodate it.

Though for longer range trips this bus seam golden – though environmental issue is less important there – hence question about TCO.

Any ideas?

Consider, that a bus runs probably >100 k miles per year, or 1 M miles in 10 years (I calculated 300 miles per day). City traffic with lots of start/stop.
What gasmilage does an ICE for a vehicle that size have? 6 mpg maybe? (I don’t know)
Assuming 6 mpg, and 2,50 $ per gallon, that’s approx. 500 k for fuel in 10 years, + standard ICE repairs.
Now imagine you have to fully charge once a day, or 365x10x660 kWh. If you pay 0.1$ per kWh, that would be ~240 k$. Initial cost of the bus might be 100 k higher than Diesel-bus to account for the batteries.
Assuming that an operator (city) has a fleet of those things (like say 100), thats a solid million dollar savings per year.
(+ 2million gallons of diesel per year that are not burnt in the street to make some guys in the desert richer than they are already)

This is from last year:
“[Proterra CEO Ryan Popple] says a bus used for urban transportation has a useful life of 10-12 years. A diesel bus costs about $1,400,000 to purchase, operate and maintain during its lifetime. A Proterra electric bus costs about $1,000,000 to purchase, operate and maintain for the same period of time. Multiply $400,000 in savings by the hundreds of buses some large public transportation systems operate and the total amount of money that can be saved is staggering.”

The larger battery pack in the just announced Catalyst E2 bus will increase the TCO listed above, but will be offset by any decrease over the past year in the cost per kWh.

The cost analysis varies among different regions based on the kWh cost of electricity, whether TOU plans are available, and whether the electric utility imposes demand charges, which could be VERY significant for a fleet of hundreds of EV buses all charging at the same time.


Proterra has not run a bus through a full life cycle to determine TCO. Therefore, those are projected savings. 1 or 2 unexpected battery pack changes and the savings vaporize quickly. In addition, is Proterra financially sustainable? Or could they go out of business leaving the tax payer with an unsupported albatross fleet of inoperable electric busses?

While great I still think some sort of smaller pack and in-route charging would work better although who knows overall the cost may be worthwhile to carry around that big a pack. I don’t imagine high power charging stations will be cheap to install.

Proterra as well as others have en-route charging options with LTO batteries. The issue is that it means peak time electricity rates compared with overnight charging, and any peak demand charges kill the economy completely.

Anyone seen my jaw? I appear to have dropped it somewhere. Way to go, Proterra! Now just hire some folks in marketing who can put together a tri-fold brochure and mail it to the transportation directors of every city in the US (to start) that has bus service.

660 KWh battery, that’s interesting. The charging power limit of 1400 KW is interesting too. It can probably learn a lot on high power charging and perhaps allow trickle down into semi-trucks, trucks and cars.
1400 KW would allow the charge of a 150 KWh car battery in about 7 minutes.

Yes 1.4MW charger would charge your 140kWh in around 7 minutes, but charge rate is around 10 C. That is very high, typicall cars charge between 1.5-2C if they fast charge… a 10 C battery would probably cost around 400-600€ kWh. So it might be possible if you want to spent 150.000€ or more on a long range BEV.

For sure the ones that bring an efficient 10 C battery that can be cycled enough and that doesn’t cost to much to produce will find a huge success, both commercially and in the form of scientific reward. Such a discovery would deserve a Nobel prize since it would bring a drastic change in the development of ev and thereby clean up much of the pollution (if combined with green electricity). Perhaps creating an X prize for the first one that achieve that could also help accelerate the research.

More nightmares for the Koch-heads and their fossil fool friends!

GET REAL, Get Real. The Koch Bros are not our enemy. And don’t be so smug about thinking your putting any pressure on the fossil fuel industry. Where do you think we get electricity? Do you think we get it from lighting and a kite like Ben Franklin? No, it comes mainly from fossil fuels. Oil, coal and natural gas. A small percentage comes from nuclear. Face it. These electric vehicles would be the best thing to ever happen to the sales of fossil fuels.

That can’t be because now a bus is running on 100% oil and an ev bus even running on electricity coming partially from oil could only use that partial portion of oil originating electricity which would therefore be less than the present 100%. In more electricity is getting greener day by day because the majority of new productions and replacements are made with renewable like wind and solar. Time is on the renewable side.

Just another example that a plain old bus with some batteries in it can travel 300 miles. This was true as I’ve said a few years ago, and it will continue to be true, that this easily implemented vehicle will eat other complicated solution vehicle’s lunch.

Almost good enough for Greyhound, but there will probably be something that is good enough, soon enough.

Better than all those ABB expensive “Charging Bus Stops”, which are an improvement over those “Substation at every bus stop” things, but still too much impractical, unless you get gov’ts to plaster them with taxpayer largess.

As far as the dual 50 kw (100 kw total) charging – it makes sense for a large vehicle since the cost is spread over dozens (sometimes hundreds) of passengers.

Ive yet to see the case made for an individual vehicle.

Overnight charging rate, that is.

A 500 kw ‘Bus Supercharger’ may make economic sense for a large vehicle, in some scenarios, using similar rationale.

I read elsewhere that one of the goals was to be able to run the bus in Duluth Minnesota without a kerosene heater for the passengers. It usually gets near zero F in Duluth in the winter, and it takes a lot of battery power to keep warm in that climate.

Proterra has perhaps the most powerful overhead automated fast charging connection.

neat accompishment. On the right track, but unless this bus is recharged with electricty generated by alternate means (solar, wind, geothermal, hydorelectric) then it is sadly still a Fossil fuel using vehicle.

Another zero emission vehicle that runs on coal.

Or on wind, or on solar, or on whatever you choose. It is your choice.

What’s the purpose? You still need an energy supply that we’re currently using to power up the batteries. In addition, the pollution of manufacturing and sisposing of batteries has now been added to the mix. What has been gained? More pollution.

Well that all depends on how you produce the electricity, on how you produce and recycle the batteries and on how you produce the vehicle. You can choose the dirty way or the green way. Again, it is your choice.

A decent technical step forward, BUT everyone seems to forget that the price of electricity per Kw/Hr for charging the batteries has skyrocketed and will continue to do so because of many factors, but especially because of this administrations war on energy.

War on Energy? What are you talking about?

Obama has exported more oil and natural gas than any US President.

Recharging the batteries is still cheaper than ICE fuel. And most cities are moving to towards renewable energy (aka solar and wind). Too bad people are frightened of Nuclear Power…

Yeah, I for one am ‘frightened’ of Nuclear power. If there is any out of the ordinary problem with the one near me, the radiation plume will go directly away from me.

I can’t say the same for those old rusting hulks at the other end of Lake Erie.

I don’t like Nuclear Power since all supporters always ignore ‘routine releases’.

And the fact that the new ‘economic’, ‘cost reduced’ Westinghouse Ap1000’s being built in the southeast are going to make electricity for at least twice the current generating cost.

And that is assuming nothing ever goes really wrong.

Recent audits of the plants’ construction had one of them saying “What were these people thinking when they approved the plant?”.

(I can guess a few thoughts).

Worldwide, in my lifetime, the ‘one in a million’ chance of a catastrophe has happened, on average, once every ten years.

The ones they haven’t been able to keep quiet, that is.

How quiet is this bus….no fumes sitting in the rear of the bus….Wow where can I ride one Time for a Road Trip!!!

It’s there take it or leave it. Maybe we can all walk to work or whatever you can’t have it all you dreamers.

Why cant the bus have a fan to generate a electricity on the go and when slows down then change to battery.

If you have a fan on it, it will create more drag and more energy consumption than the energy produced by the fan. The net outcome will not be enough to keep the bus going.

On a motor home, on the other hand an electric version could use a wind generator to recharge its battery while standing still in the camping. Doing so would allow the motor home to drive on free electricity all over the country indefinitely as long as you take the time to let the wind generator recharge the battery between each trip leg. Additional solar panels on it would complete the generation system of such an energetically autonomous motor home.

Much better than the BYD P.O.S.vehicles.