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Proterra introduces 35-foot electric bus

Battery-electric bus manufacturer Proterra has introduced a new 35-foot vehicle based on the same technology platform as its current 40-foot Catalyst vehicle. (Earlier post.)

Tracking the broader transportation trend towards advanced safety systems, the new 35-foot Catalyst electric bus provides customers with nimble maneuvering and enhanced automated features, including collision avoidance and traction control in a smaller model for dense urban areas, building on the performance of the 40-foot Catalyst vehicle. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will be the first customer for the new bus, receiving seven 35-foot Catalyst FC buses and two overhead semi-autonomous fast chargers.

Built from the ground-up to be completely optimized as an EV, the Catalyst is the only purpose-built bus in its class. The 40-foot Catalyst has broken four national bus records in efficiency, gradeability, weight and acceleration at the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center.

The modular configuration is a part of Proterra’s approach to electrifying mass transit routes across the United States. The Proterra TerraFlex Energy Systems provides customers with the ability to choose between 53 kWh to 321 kWh of energy storage, and the option to charge on-route or in-depot.

  • TerraVolt FC fast charge options allows for maximum run time with minimum dwell time. This system can be recharged on-route in less than ten minutes at 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 700 miles in 24 hours.

  • The XR Extended Range product, using NMC Li-ion cells, allows longer distances between charge events. Full charge recovery at the depot can be accomplished in less than 90 minutes.

Operators can easily reconfigure or upgrade the battery packs and chargers to meet their evolving transit needs.

By choosing from two base vehicle sizes, then configuring each bus with the right type of energy storage and charging systems, transit agencies can meet each route's daily range requirements, remain adaptable to future changes, eliminate fossil fuel emissions in their communities and ultimately save money over the lifetime of their vehicles.

Separately, Proterra announced it has been selected by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) in a significant RFP solicitation for a statewide master contract for Heavy-duty Transit Vehicles and a multi-vendor contract for the purchase of multiple public transportation vehicles. As a result, Washington State transit agencies and members of the Oregon Cooperative Purchasing Program (ORCPP) can now bypass future RFPs to purchase Proterra’s Catalyst through the region’s new innovative Master Contracts Usage Agreement (MCUA).

Proterra and seven other manufacturers were chosen as WSDOT’s “pool of providers” in order to streamline local transit agencies’ access to the vendor and vehicle that best meets their specific transit system’s needs. Proterra’s configurable EV platform, battery and charging options make its buses well suited for a wide range of transit and campus routes. Proterra was the only provider selected offering both long-range and fast-charge transit vehicles capable of recharging in less than 10 minutes.

The resulting contract has a possible life of five years, and it is estimated that the contract could reach up to 800 buses at approximately $480 million dollars. Moreover, the contract seeks to match and qualify contract users with federal grant and/or stimulus funds.

Although this RFP includes all types of heavy-duty transit vehicles, it was created in support of Governor Jay Inslee’s initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to increase transportation choices for the future.

Last year, Proterra was selected by King County Metro in Washington State to supply buses for its zero-emission bus demonstration program. This new RFP selection enables other Pacific Northwest transit fleets to begin similar or larger programs.



These and other smaller e-buses will make sense when equipped with fully automated drive and the ($128,000 CAN/year) human drivers can be retired.

Meanwhile, much larger articulated (100+ passenger e-buses) should be preferred.


This is a most interesting approach with the chassis design platform purposed to allow the power electronics to be reconfigured to suit operator requirements.

"Proterra’s configurable EV platform, battery and charging options make its buses well suited for a wide range of transit and campus routes."

I assume the motor and transmission will remain correct for the same loads.

There should be economies to operaters, system suppliers and Proterra if different manufactures systems (many in development) are not prohibited.

Traditionally heavy vehicles have had the space to fit a range of driveline options. 'Coach builders' were not in the buisness of drivelines.

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