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Proterra extended range electric bus delivers 258 miles on one charge of 257 kWh pack

A Proterra 40-foot Catalyst XR (extended range) electric bus drove 258 miles (415 miles) on a single charge under test conditions at Michelin’s Laurens Proving Grounds (LPG). The Catalyst XR configuration for the max mileage test used 8 NMC Li-ion battery packs, with a total energy capacity of 257 kWh. Average speed was 30 mph (48 km/h); average energy consumption was 0.8 kWh/mile.

Proterra offers both extended-range (XR) and fast-charge (FC) versions of its electric bus, using different battery technologies. (Earlier post.)

  • Proterra’s TerraVolt FC fast charge battery options (lithium titanate, LTO chemistry) allows for maximum run time with minimum dwell time. This system can be recharged on-route in less than ten minutes with a 500kW charge rate. Fast charge configured buses can also be charged in-depot to take advantage of off-peak charging times. Proterra has demonstrated that this option can travel more than 700 miles in 24-hour period. Proterra’s fast charge vehicle uses a 100 kWh pack.

  • The new Catalyst XR Extended Range product uses an NMC higher energy density pack, said Horton, allowing flexibility in the deployment of electric buses on routes of all types. The XR is compatible with the fast charging equipment (although the charge will not be as quick as with the FC); full charge recovery can be accomplished in less than 90 minutes.

Based on the new test results, Proterra predicts its ten pack XR configuration (321 kWh) will achieve 300 miles (483 km) on a single charge. According to available General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data, typical urban and rural bus routes in the United States run less than 200 miles a day, bringing most routes within reach of Proterra’s current technology.

Beyond meeting a given route’s minimum range requirements, Proterra electric vehicles are poised to make a significant impact on the transit market because of the Catalyst’s low operational cost per mile compared to diesel, CNG, and diesel-hybrid buses. Over the 12-year life of a bus, Proterra customers will reduce maintenance costs, saving around $135K.



At .8kWh/mile, that is a VERY efficient transport mechanism when you consider that it can hold 40 people. Should be great for city routes where they're trying to eliminate emissions.

I wonder what the base cost is going to be compared with an average diesel bus. I don't see any numbers on that yet so I'm assuming it must be rather expensive up front and makes up the cost on TCO...especially lower maintenance for brakes, etc.

Marshall Taylor

If we assume $300/KWH, then the battery pack is 77.1K USD. That's one expensive pack, but looking at the total cost of ownership might make this a very desirable option. They say 135K USD will be saved over 12 years in maintenance costs alone. If in 12 years the bus travels 500K miles at 10 miles/gallon, then that's 50K gallons of diesel, which is 150K USD (3 USD/gallon). The KWH price would be a tiny fraction of that. Sounds like a winner to me!


The average range is already more than enough for most city routes with only one recharge per shift.

The total cost of the large battery pack about ($75K) can be more than offset in the first 5 to 6 years via reduced maintenance et lower energy cost.

An aluminium alloy e-bus can last 15 to 20 years.

The larger battery pack would be OK for inter-city e-buses with one mid-day (lunch time) recharge.

Let's go Proterra!!!


This is great stuff a city bus can cost a lot to buy and maintain. Paying for the large pack is not a big problem in this application.

Nick Lyons

Outstanding. What an improvement in street side environments this will be over the noisy, smoky diesels!


With bus only lanes located next to the median strips, there will be even less noise for pedestrians. This is progress, fewer health hazards with less imported oil.


An advantage of buses is that the route length is known in advance. Thus, you should be able to match the range to the routes without too much fuss. Very long routes could use diesels or hybrids.
You might be able to use smaller batteries for shorter routes.


I'm not convinced the chassis of this bus is at all different than the standard jolting/jerking/shuddering rattletrap shaking itself apart and meant to operate with seats filled plus standees at higher speed and least stop/start and circuitous maneuverability. As such, other than electrification, it's not the advanced bus that transit systems need to increase ridership and guide transit-oriented development.


Bus chassis can be upgraded and made much lighter, specially with the new stronger, longer lasting, lighter aluminum alloys, to totally offset the weight of large battery packs.

Account Deleted

The Proterra electric bus is the Tesla Model S of the bus business. Proterra makes its bus chassis from carbon fiber to save weight. Even with the batteries installed, it is one of the lightest buses on the market.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Bike Sharing (in some places e-bike sharing) are happening in cities around the globe, creating a model for sustainable transport. The Proterra bus looks like a valuable component of this concept.


Driveless articualted e-bus trains (2 to 4 units) on dedicated lanes could become one of the best way to reduce GHG, traffic jams and to safely accelerate people transporttion in city cores and many other places etc.

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