Proterra Delivers 100th US E-Bus, Says It Now Owns 60% Of The Market

APR 23 2017 BY MARK KANE 22

Proterra Catalyst E2 – Available With 440-660 kWh battery

Proterra has reached a milestone of 100 electric bus deliveries.  The company can now boast more than a 60% share in the North American battery-electric transit market.

Proterra E2 Catalyst Bus With 660 kWh (no misprint) Battery – Enabling 350+ Miles Of Real World Range

The 100th bus went to San Joaquin RTD, which has already received 12 deliveries previously…which we suppose means that the local transit authority accounts for some 8% of all electric buses in operation in the US as well.

In total, Proterra’s buses have now completed over 3,100,000 miles in revenue service.

The largest upcoming order, for some 73 buses, comes from Seattle’s King County Metro; while the total orders (including those delivered) now stands at more than 380, so Proterra has a nice backlog to keep production humming along.

As a comparison, BYD noted around 300 electric buses built earlier this year, but together with other manufacturers have yet to reach 100 deliveries in the US. Worldwide; although perhaps with this announcement from Proterra we may soon hear an update on how those ~300 buses are making (or have made) their way to transit customers.

As a point of reference on the scale of Proterra, and the US e-bus segment in general, BYD delivered its 10,000th electric bus a year ago, and crossed 15,000 sold in China this past February…so Proterra still has a long way to go to be competitive relative to the Chinese company on a global scale.

“Today Proterra, the leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation, announced that it delivered its 100th battery-electric bus, destined for San Joaquin Region Transit District (RTD) in Stockton, Calif. This record deployment marks Proterra’s continued leadership in the North American electric mass transit market, in sales, deliveries and repeat orders. The company is leading the industry with over 60 percent of sales since the industry’s inception. With 36 different municipal, university and commercial transit agency customers in 20 states from coast to coast, Proterra has now deployed its best-in-market, zero-emission buses in some of the nation’s most innovative cities and communities. Many of the transit agencies serving these communities have also completed third and fourth orders for Proterra® buses including San Joaquin RTD, King County Metro in Seattle and Foothill Transit in Pomona, Calif.

Serving more than 687,744 people in San Joaquin County, RTD has added ten more Proterra Catalyst® battery-electric buses to its expanding fleet, bringing their total number of Proterra buses to 12. As the first agency in Northern California to operate all-electric technology, San Joaquin RTD exemplifies the growing trend among transit organizations to transition to zero-emission buses as the cost and performance benefits become clearer.”

King County Metro Transit’s Proterra electric bus

“To date, Proterra buses have completed over 3,100,000 miles in revenue service, which equates to ~ 6,000 tons of GHG emissions reduced and over $2M saved in fuel and maintenance costs. On a total cost of ownership basis, these vehicles can save transit agencies up to $459,000 per bus over diesel-hybrid vehicles and up to $448,000 vs. diesel vehicles over their lifetime. Combined with the environmental benefits of a more efficient technology at 21 MPGe, vs. 4 MPG for diesel, and zero tailpipe emissions, this dollars-and-cents argument for transit electrification has attracted sizeable orders from customers like Seattle’s King County Metro, which placed the largest order of battery-electric buses to date by committing to 73 Proterra vehicles.”

Donna DeMartino, CEO of San Joaquin Regional Transit District said:

“Proterra has helped us save funds, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide clean, quiet, electric transit service to residents throughout the San Joaquin Valley, so we couldn’t be prouder to share this milestone with them. At San Joaquin RTD, we see Proterra as an indispensable partner as we seek to improve air quality conditions in the Valley and to ensure that our riders have access to one of the most efficient, reliable mass transportation systems in the country.”

Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra said:

“We’re no longer at the dawn of the electric mass transportation revolution, we’re in the midst of it, and this milestone delivery to RTD proves that Proterra continues to lead the way as the industry charges forward. As we deliver more buses, forge new partnerships and follow through on more repeat orders, we will continue to do our part as the North American market leader and will champion innovation throughout the electric mobility ecosystem.”

Categories: Bus

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

22 Comments on "Proterra Delivers 100th US E-Bus, Says It Now Owns 60% Of The Market"

newest oldest most voted

It baffles me why these aren’t absolutely everywhere yet…

They will be, but they (like even regular buses) are very expensive, plus there’s the charging infrastructure. Yes, they are absolutely the future, but annual budgets are a reality and municipalities can’t just cough up $10-20M to replace their fleets.

I’ll add a couple more realities to that.
1. Many municipal and county governments have just bought into the diesel to nat gas conversion of their fleet which requires expensive gas compression stations. Since they likely invested in those within just the last couple years, they will approach with caution another turnover for awhile. They aren’t going to abandon that capital investment and switch gears mid stream.
2. This is super brand new stuff and budget planning for this type of investment is measured in 20 year increments so just the budget cycle along causes huge delay.
3. Most city/county level authorities take their jobs extremely seriously and are sensitive to their fiduciary responsibility to the community. No matter how cool or even obvious a new technology is, these bodies are necessarily calibrated to caution and are structured to avoid early adopter technologies due to their inherent structural risk on the budget. For instance even if the buses are an obvious win, the manufacturer still poses a risk. If a manufacturer were to go broke, it would leave the city hanging with respect to issues such as warranty.

That is a good guess, transit system inertia.
No one wants to take a chance nor “rock the boat”.

It’s the coolest looking bus, so there is that.
And anyone who lives in a city should be demanding these. Quieter, and cleaner of course, but they raise city property value too.

Especially, in resort towns, up and down the Atlantic Coast, I’d think these would be top priority.

And I remember a lot of buses in and around Disney. You’d think conversion to these would be immediate as the stink of Diesel Buses idling is really a big bad impression of the Disney experience.

If enough people suggest it to Disney through contact forms etc. it could happen!

Being a Florida resident a couple months of the year, and a Disney annual pass holder, I have this conversation with my wife (who is a Disney fanatic) a couple times a year…although usually her eyes glazed over when I talk EVs at this point.

Not only would the eBuses application be more pleasant, but the operational routes (short distances, multiple stops – and all on company owned property) would be perfect for the tech.

They really don’t even need the more expensive all-electic (BEV) eBus, just the ~15 mile extended range, inductive charging at stops kind.

Have you ridden on those diesel trains (trams I suppose they’re called) that shuttle everybody from the parking lots to the entrance and back? The engine in front spews out all the noxious fumes to the passengers in the open air cars behind it. Those would be a perfect start for EV’s in the resorts- lots of stop and go and they never seem to go more than 20-30 mph.

It’s also tragic how few solar panels are around the Orlando resorts- at least Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom is what I can attest to. Oh that and all the junk food with scant healthy options for the kids. Sigh.

…as is the stink of tiny gasoline engines at Autopia.

Waiting in line there is to experience everything wrong with gasoline powered transport. Not a “utopia” by any stretch. That ride just *screams* to be sponsored by Tesla (instead of Honda, as it is now). And, instead of guide rails, the cars could be guided by AutoPilot-like sensors/software. That would be a truly future-looking exhibit for the so-called “Tomorrowland” area of Disneyland.

Their specs are a bit hard to find on their web page, meaning you have to dig a bit. looks like a customer can configure these to have a wide range of battery capacity. 80 kWh to 660 kWh. Can charge upto 500 kW rate.

Am I the only one who thought they had crossed this threshold quite a while ago?

In terms of quantities, Proterra is roughly on par with a half-dozen or so bus makers in Europe; the big difference is that Proterra is a Tesla-like EV only makers, whereas in Europe it’s mostly traditional bus makers adding EV product lines.

As the article notes, China is in a league of its own. And BYD apparently isn’t even the largest EV bus maker in its domestic market; just the one that exports the most to the rest of the world.

Well, here’s hoping that Proterra can use its current wave of orders to scale up like Tesla and reach a lower price segment… what I’d love to see is a Proterra school bus. Although for that application (the vast majority of school buses drive limited daily mileage), a far lower-tech EV solution can win the day.

It is fascinating how Proterra can get so much attention with barely anything built or sold.

It just speaks to how extremely poor the US electric bus market is.

Proterra would be absolutely nothing in China and totally irrelevant in Europe.

Hopefully BYD will speed it up soon and enter 4 and even 5 digit yearly sales in the US.

Not quite “totally irrelevant” in Europe…

As of end of 2016, the entire continent had only ~1000 e-buses and 300 “hopping trolleys”, after ~5 years of various hype stories not very different from Proterra’s, and numerous pilots that have led to very little follow-up.
Those 1000 buses are split among many bus makers, with Chinese imports potentially larger than any European maker’s contribution. And some of those are PHEVs rather than BEVs.

So with 100 units delivered, all of them BEV, Proterra is just as significant as any of the Europeans.

Basically with e-buses it’s the same story: the West hypes and conducts endless “pilots”, with little output. China just cranks them out and deploys them en masse.

Protera may have delivered just 100 electric buses so far, but they have a backlog of 280 buses, which isn’t bad anywhere outside of China. And though China’s numbers look impressive, they are due to the fact that the Communist Party dictates and the local factories do their best to deliver upon those dictates.

Most of us Free World citizens would rather stick with our messy but freer system. The US/EU/Australia/Japan/Korea etc. may not be perfect, but I would rather live in just about any of them rather than China any day. I had an experience in Beijing of just how heavy handed Chinese government officials can be. Lets just say that they aren’t strong on free speech right for their own people.

Anyway, I think that Proterra’s sales numbers are going to be growing pretty quickly in the next year or two.

Example of what is going on in Europe:

Most people [?] here dismissed the idea of hub motors due to ‘unsprung weight’ & various other arguments. Well, BYD proven you all wrong. Admittedly it will take some time to be practical in lighter vehicles but I still believe it will become the norm.

BYD has sold 10,000 plus of these buses so the ‘hub motor’ problem is substantially a myth & the advantages are HUGE. So why is Tesla not using them for it’s trucks , or Proterra for it’s buses?
OR are they?

LA Metro public document says that they put 5 BYD battery electric buses into service in downtown LA in June 2015. The buses had limited range and poor hill-climbing ability. So LA Metro stopped using them in April 2106. Additionally, the buses “experienced low reliability.” The good news is that BYD offered to buy the buses back.


Regarding hill climbing, not all electric buses have that problem. This article says Proterra was the only electric bus that had no trouble with a long hill in testing in Bellingham, WA. The Proterra bus also hit 70 mph on Interstate 5. No wonder KC Metro is going to buy up to 73 Proterras.

That article says, BYD exchanged them for buses that were 60% more powerful. BYD will get the huge LA metro bus contract. BYD is going to destroy proterra.

To think we had electric streetcars / trains in virtually every city and larger town – and even in some small towns!

And GM and Standard Oil paid bribes, etc to politicians to have them DEMOLISHED – and then to buy buses (and taxi cabs?) which burned lots of fuel.

Imagine the lack of smoky diesel buses! When will we have NO EXHAUST PIPES on any vehicle?

At this time, King County (Seattle), has only 3 buses in the fleet (I see one every so often). here are the numbers>

Omg I can’t wait to see one of these around Stockton!