Proterra Catalyst Electric Bus Sets All Sorts Of Records

JUN 17 2015 BY MARK KANE 8

Proterra Catalyst

Proterra Catalyst

Proterra announced that its latest electric bus Catalyst set four records in the structural testing program at the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center.

Records were broken in four “categories“: Efficiency, Gradeability, Weight and Acceleration.

Efficiency. Catalyst achieved 22 MPGe, which is nearly six times more than a conventional diesel buses average at 3.86 MPG!

According to Green Car Congress, that’s equivalent to 10.7 l/100 km or 1.70 kWh/mile.

“While conventional diesel buses average 3.86 MPG, the Proterra Catalyst achieved the best efficiency rating ever for a 40′ transit bus at 22 MPGe. Nearly six times more efficient than a diesel or CNG bus, the Catalyst is also 15% more energy efficient per mile than the closest competitors’ electric bus on the same test, which translates to a lower lifetime energy consumption of 15%. Notably, Proterra’s new 40′ bus is more energy efficient per mile than most light-duty trucks and SUVs on the road today.”

Gradeability. Another record was gradeability at 15.5% grade.

“Gradeability has been a historic obstacle for electric buses, which until now, weighed more and had less power, making steep inclines difficult if not impossible to climb. The Catalyst conquered a 15.5% grade, unprecedented in this test by an electric bus, making it an ideal option to serve metropolitan areas with challenging topography in West Coast cities including San Francisco and Seattle.”

Weight- just 27,370 lbs

“Made of carbon fiber and advanced composite materials, Proterra’s unibody design is a prime driver for its high performance with regard to weight and durability. With a curb weight of only 27,370 lbs., the Proterra Catalyst is not only lighter than any other electric bus, leading to greater efficiency, but is also more durable than buses made of aluminum or steel and less prone to corrosion. The transit industry has traditionally struggled with vehicle weight, especially for new technologies like hybrid, CNG and EV. By designing the vehicle from the ground-up, using the most advanced technology and materials, Proterra has eliminated the vehicle weight concern for EV.”

Acceleration – 0-20 under 7 seconds. Not bad for a 77-passenger bus.

“As proof of the vehicle’s superior power-to-weight ratio, the Proterra 40′ Catalyst also achieved 0-20 acceleration in just 6.7 seconds. Rapid acceleration is particularly critical for keeping routes running on time, allowing bus operators to move in and out of traffic with greater ease.”

Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra said:

“To break not one, but four records at Altoona is a major milestone not just for us, but for the industry as a whole and is a testament to how far electric bus technology has come. In an industry hungry for innovation, to receive these kinds of results from rigorous testing organizations such as Altoona helps to assure transit managers and civic leaders that electric buses can outperform fossil fuel vehicles and are a durable and reliable investment.”

Source: Proterra via Green Car Congress

Categories: Bus

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8 Comments on "Proterra Catalyst Electric Bus Sets All Sorts Of Records"

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The obvious question is if the tests were done with the bus loaded with the weight equivalent to 77 passengers.

They’re tested with a weight of 150 lbs per passenger position (79 for this bus[not sure why this article says 77, but the report states 79]), both seated and standing included. If you visit the Altoona website, they’ve got full information (for free!) for the buses they’ve tested. This is very impressive!

These EV buses still kinda amaze me. A massive heavy aerodynamic brick doesn’t seem like a good thing to make into a BEV. But on the other hand, they don’t go fast, they are huge so there is plenty of area for storing batteries, the stop & go driving is ideal for EV, in cities is an area that you really want to reduce pollution emissions, etc. So I guess it makes sense.

Also, they are low volume specialty vehicles so even in ICE form they tend to be very expensive. So with that high price, they can kinda hide the cost of lots of batteries.

Aerodynamics only becomes a factor at higher speeds. Below 30mph it is probably irrelevant what shape the object is… especially at 27,000lbs 🙂

“Made of carbon fiber and advanced composite materials, Proterra’s unibody design is a prime driver for its high performance with regard to weight and durability.”

I’m guessing one record which this bus will not be in the slightest danger of challenging is low price.

Excellent job, guys. Now, just don’t have the same problem Tesla has, eh? (production-constrained)

I am a Bus driver, and own two EV’s. The general manager of the transit operation I work for, formerly worked for Proterra! Very exciting, the day may come when I drove an EV to work and back, AND while I work as well!