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Proterra Notches Battery Bus Orders

December 13, 2013 in EVs, Fleet Order by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Louisville, with Nashville Next, Following a Follow-On from Foothill,
‘We Know That We Have Only Scratched the Surface of This Market

Greenville, S.C.-based Proterra has notched another double digit order for its all-battery buses: The Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, Ky. is to receive ten of the zero-emission vehicles. TARC’s order follows Proterra’s largest to date, for 12 of the Altoona-tested vehicles for Foothill Transit in Southern California. An order for seven buses for Nashville MTA is expected to be announced soon. 

this item was initially posted on December 10

Where it all began: Proterra EcoRide BE35 operated by Southern California's Foothill Transit in position for charging.

Where it all began: Proterra EcoRide BE35 operated by Southern California’s Foothill Transit in position for charging.

Proterra has developed an all-electric operational model whereby battery size is minimized as its 35-foot EcoRide BE35 buses come with a fast-charge system from Eaton that can be utilized in-route.

The process was demonstrated by Foothill Transit with three Proterra buses in 2011. “These electric buses have more than delivered on our expectations in terms of cost savings and sustainability,” Foothill executive director Doran Barnes said in a Proterra release.

‘Electric Buses Just Make Sense’

In other recent orders, StarMetro of Tallahassee purchased an additional three EV buses from Proterra, increasing its battery bus fleet size to five, and the Worcester Regional Transit Authority in Massachusetts doubled its initial three bus order to six. Other customers include Via Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, San Joaquin RTD in Stockton, Calif., RTC of Washoe County in Reno and the City of Seneca, S.C.

Proterra bus operated by Via Metropolitan Transit passes the Alamo in San Antonio.

Proterra bus operated by Via Metropolitan Transit passes the Alamo in San Antonio.

Reports indicate that Windsor, Ont. will be the first Proterra battery bus customer in Canada.

The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority board voted on November 21 to purchase seven Proterra buses. The unit price is $911,047 per vehicle, plus $790,000 for the charging equipment including a 500-kilowatt overhead unit and smaller backup and shop units, and installation. With training and spare parts, the initial contract is expected to total $7,226,950.

Nashville MTA also received bids from Wave, New Flyer, EV America and BYD.

“The market is really starting to embrace the idea that electric buses just make sense,” said Proterra president and CEO Garrett Mikita said in a release. “It’s hard to argue with proven cost savings, more predictable fuel expenses and the improved reliability,” he said.

UQM Drives, Lithium Titanate Batteries

“And while we are thrilled to see forward-thinking cities like Louisville embrace this game-changing technology, we know that we have only scratched the surface of this market.”

Counting the anticipated announcement of buses for Nashville, Proterra will have sold approximately 40 of its 100% battery buses this year, says marketing VP Heidi McNary. “We expect to double that next year,” she told F&F.

The new buses for TARC are to be built at Proterra’s factory in Greenville in early 2014, with delivery expected later in the year. The vehicles employ water-cooled PowerPhase HD 220 drivelines from UQM Technologies (NYSE:UQM) and fast-charge capable lithium titanate batteries in proprietary TerraVolt battery packs.

StarMetro likes them lively.

StarMetro likes them lively.

TARC will run the buses on two routes, each with its own Proterra charger with DC Quick Charge electronics from Eaton. They will replace Louisville’s aging diesel “Toonerville II Trolley” buses, some of which, says TARC special projects manager Geoffrey Hobin, are eight years old and are among the agency’s dirtiest vehicles.

Utility Pricing Remains an Issue

TARC operates approximately 210 diesel-fueled Gillig buses and about 90 paratransit vehicles.

Hobin says he expects to have to deal with demand charges from Louisville Gas & Electric, as the Proterra opportunity charge gameplan entails drawing electricity at peak hours (F&F, August 9, 2010).

“We know we’re going to have demand charges,” Hobin told F&F. But given the elimination of fossil fuel bills and the anticipation of reduced maintenance outlays, “We believe we’re still going to save a significant amount of money.”

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Source: Proterra with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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