Proterra’s Senior VP Matt Horton Talks About The Electric Bus Business
MAY 5 2016 BY MARK KANE
EV World’s William Moore recently interviewed Proterra’s Senior VP for Sales and Marketing Matt Horton.
Proterra is one of the leading U.S. all-electric bus manufacturer, and turns 12 this year – so it is not exactly a new outfit, although it is just coming into the public’s consciousness lately (the company was found in 2004).
To date, Proterra has made some 70 deliveries, 2 million miles of service logged, and currently also has a current backlog of about 200 orders.
Proterra is now scaling up its manufacturing capability, adding a California assembly plant to its base in Greenville, SC.
Matt Horton believes that electric buses could be economically viable quicker than electric cars, given the economies of scale.
Transit agencies that are afraid of the higher upfront costs can use company financing, or lease the batteries separately – similar to Renault electric car sales in Europe; although we suspect if they “do the math”, they will opt for an outright purchase.
With two length options – 40 feet and 35 feet, Proterra is focusing on the North American market for bus sales, which currently stands at around 5,000 vehicles annually.
One of the next opportunities for EV bus makers could be autonomous driving capability -which to some degree is easier than in case of cars because fixed routes, and less unexpected surprises/situations to account for. Of course, the liability issue is also much higher at the same time.