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Proterra Unveils ‘Nimbler’ 35-Foot Bus

October 7, 2015 in Companies, Electric Drive, EVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Opens Northern California Headquarters South of San Francisco
And Announces DART in Texas as the Lead Customer for 35-Footer

Proterra celebrated the opening of its new Northern California headquarters yesterday evening, and unveiled a new, “nimbler” 35-foot Catalyst bus to complement its standard 40-foot offering.

'Our goal in this company is to replace every single fossil fuel transit vehicle on the road,' says Proterra CEO Ryan Popple.

‘Our goal in this company is to replace every single fossil fuel transit vehicle on the road,’ says Proterra CEO Ryan Popple.


The new bus uses technology Proterra developed when switching from its original 35-footer to the more advanced 40-foot vehicle last year (F&F, September 12, 2014).

The company’s new Burlingame headquarters, in Silicon Valley near the San Francisco airport, “positions Proterra to extend its market leadership by taking greater advantage of the region’s innovation culture and to serve the rapid growth in customer demand on the West Coast.

Proterra CEO Ryan Popple made the case for electric transit at the gala opening of his firm's new California headquarters Tuesday evening.

Proterra CEO Ryan Popple made the case for electric transit at the gala opening of his firm’s new California headquarters Tuesday evening.

Battery Buses for All

“Proterra expects to find new opportunities for collaboration with other transportation innovators in the Bay Area,” states a release.

“Our goal in this company is to replace every single fossil fuel transit vehicle on the road,” Proterra CEO Ryan Popple said yesterday. The threat from carbon is real, he said, and an increasingly urban population needs transit more than ever.

“Oil is getting more carbon intensive over time. Electricity is getting less carbon intensive over time,” Popple said. “The future of the market is going to be electric.”

Modular Design for Flexibility

Proterra’s 34,440-square-foot Burlingame headquarters will include a mix of management and support teams from the advanced engineering, finance, sales, marketing, and human resources departments, with 40 employees initially.

Proterra’s new 35-foot Catalyst electric bus will provide operators 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,” the company says.

Both size buses are manufactured using a modular approach, allowing customer to select – and later modify – battery types and capacities, depending on their preference for longer range of rapid, in-route charging.

UQM PowerPhase controller and motor coupled to an Eaton gearbox (top) on display at Proterra'a Northern California facility opening on Tuesday evening.

UQM PowerPhase controller and motor coupled to an Eaton gearbox (top) on display at Proterra’a Northern California facility opening on Tuesday evening.

Wind Power in Texas

“The modular approach we have taken with the Catalyst design enables us to stay at the forefront of innovation and enable our customers to optimize their fleets over the average 12-year life of the bus,” said Proterra chief engineer John Sleconich said in the 35-foot bus announcement.

Proterra also said that Dallas Area Rapid Transit will be the first customer for the shorter bus – DART is to receive seven 35-foot Catalyst FC (fast-charge) buses and two overhead semi-autonomous fast chargers.

“With Texas’ growing wind capacity, we’re pleased to provide a complementary clean mobility solution,” Popple said in the release.

Looking Beyond Eaton for Charging

Proterra has used Eaton equipment for its in-route fast-chargers for customers including Foothill Transit in California (F&F, February 19), and is now seeking new partners.

Proterra is also developing new finance plans to allow operators to offset the higher cost of its battery vehicles and take advantage of fuel and maintenance savings from the start. A battery lease program is a possibility.

King County Is a New Customer Too

Proterra plans to open a new Southern California manufacturing facility is to open next year. Proterra said this week that its firm orders stand now at 123 units, with 317 options contracted, for a total of 440 100% battery electric buses.

A bus for Seattle’s King County Metro (F&F, September 9, 2014) was on display at the Burlingame opening.


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Source: Fleets & Fuels with Proterra in Burlingame

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