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Proterra Sets Records in Altoona Trials

June 10, 2015 in Companies, Electric Drive, EVs, milestones by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

And Is Setting Up a Sales and Service Center Outside San Francisco

Proterra reports that its new Catalyst 40-foot all-electric battery buses has set four records in Federal Transit Administration trials in Altoona, Pa., most notably a miles-per-gallon-electric rating of 22 – as compared, the company says, with 3.86 for conventional diesel buses. “The Catalyst is also 15% more energy efficient per mile than the closest competitors’ electric bus,” Proterra said today.

Proterra's lithium-powered, UQM-driven 40-foot all-electric transit bus has set new performace records in FTA Altoona trials – most notably an efficiency rating of 22 MPGe.

Proterra’s lithium-powered, UQM-driven 40-foot all-electric transit bus has set new performace records in FTA Altoona trials – most notably an efficiency rating of 22 MPGe.


Proterra claims new records for acceleration, hill-climbing and weight, too. And, according to sales VP Matt Horton, the Greenville, S.C.-headquartered firm is establishing a sales office with showroom and service garage in Burlingame, Calif., south of San Francisco.

The San Francisco facility, which is to open this fall, will complement Proterra’s new bus factory in City of Industry, east of Los Angeles (F&F, April 28).

Proterra sales VP Matt Horton with Catalyst FC bus

Proterra sales VP Matt Horton with Catalyst FC bus

Efficiency, Efficiency, Efficiency

The big news, says Horton, is the efficiency: “We’re six times more efficient than a CNG or diesel bus,” he says. “It means you can drive farther on a given amount of energy.”

The Proterra bus was completely re-designed when the company shifted from a 35- to a 40-foot platform last year. The resulting composite-structure Catalyst vehicle as tested in Pennsylvania weighs just 27,370 pounds. It uses 1.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity per mile, as compared with 1.81 for the company’s 35-footers.

‘Electric Will Win’

The Proterra bus handled a 15.5% grade and showed acceleration of 0-20 mph in 6.7 seconds – the best for all 40-foot buses, Horton says. The two-speed transmission allows both off-the-line performance and highway efficiency.

“We’re absolutely convinced that electric will win over fossil-fuel vehicles,” he told F&F.

“To break not one, but four records at Altoona is a major milestone not just for us, but for the industry as a whole and is a testament to how far electric bus technology has come,” Proterra CEO Ryan Popple said in a release. “In an industry hungry for innovation, to receive these kinds of results from rigorous testing organizations such as Altoona helps to assure transit managers and civic leaders that electric buses can outperform fossil fuel vehicles and are a durable and reliable investment,” Popple said.

Customers can opt for Proterra Catalyst buses with battery capacities to accommodate their needs. As previously reported, Proterra uses LTO/lithium titanate oxide batteries from Toshiba for the fast-charge Catalyst FC, and lithium manganese cobalt/NMC batteries from LG Chem for the extended-range Catalyst XR.

Proterra uses 220-kilowatt motors from UQM Technologies.


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Source: Proterra with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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