Proterra Inc, a designer and manufacturer of heavy-duty drive systems, energy storage systems, vehicle control systems and complete transit buses, announced $20 million in funding from cleantech investor, MK Energy and Infrastructure, LLC (MK E+I). The investment will accelerate the construction of Proterra’s first full-scale manufacturing plant in Greenville, SC, which will break ground later this year and have capacity to make 2,500 EcoRide BE-35 buses annually and employ 1,300 workers over the next five years.
The EcoRide BE-35 is a fast-charge, 35' battery-electric transit bus that replaces traditional diesel buses. The EcoRide BE-35 achieves 500% greater fuel efficiency than conventional diesel buses and more than 400% greater efficiency than the most advanced hybrid transit buses traveling the roads today, according to the Federal Transit Administration sponsored Altoona, Pennsylvania Bus Testing Center. (Earlier post.)
The BE-35 features Proterra’s light-weight composite body; ProDrive powered by a UQM PowerPhase 150 electric propulsion system; TerraVolt Li-ion energy storage system; and on-route rooftop FastCharging station to charge the bus in 5-10 minutes. The vehicle achieves between 18 and 29 miles per gallon diesel fuel equivalent fully loaded with 68 passengers.
Over a 12-year lifecycle, Proterra buses will save an average of $400,000 per bus in fuel costs as compared to a conventional diesel bus and almost $300,000 when compared to advanced hybrid buses. The neighborhood-friendly EcoRide BE-35 also reduces noise pollution to a fraction of that produced by today’s traditional diesel buses.
Funds from the MK E+I investment will also be used to advance Proterra’s clean technology research and to promote policies in support of clean commuting. Proterra Proterra’s systems are scalable to all forms of commercial buses and Class 6-8 trucks.
MK Energy and Infrastructure (MK E+I) was established by The Michael Kenwood Group, LLC in July 2009 to develop business opportunities in proprietary infrastructure assets, advanced stage clean energy technology, and late stage development and operating renewable energy projects and infrastructure, both in OECD countries and in emerging markets.