Ray LaHood, US Transportation SecretaryRay LaHood had a lot on his plate when he was the US Secretary of Transportation. Whether it was distracted driving, cash for clunkers or troubles with Toyota, LaHood was at the helm of the DOT during a tumultuous time. Now that he's been away from the post for half a year, he's ready to get back into the swing of things by joining the board of directors at electric bus manufacturer Proterra. Proterra is the company behind the EcoRide fast-charging electric bus.

LaHood dealt with electric buses at the DOT through the Clean Fuels Program, which gave funds to cities to by the zero-emission people-haulers. In a statement announcing his new position (available below), LaHood said, "EV is the future of transit." This is not the first time he's had kind words to say about EVs. When Lehood visited Proterra in early 2011, he said the company was, "a model for the rest of the country."

LaHood announced he would leave the DOT last January and was replaced by Anthony Foxx in July.
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Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to Join Proterra Board of Directors

GREENVILLE, S.C., February 13, 2014 – Proterra Inc., the leading provider of the most cost effective zero emission battery electric bus, is pleased to announce that former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will join the company's Board of Directors effective immediately.

LaHood's government experience and leadership in transportation policy innovation make him an excellent fit for Proterra. Prior to serving as Secretary of Transportation, he served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for six years and on the House Appropriations Committee for nearly eight years, giving him strong knowledge of the transportation sector and of the funding issues at play in the industry. During his time as Secretary, LaHood was an avid supporter of EV transit, leading the Federal Transit Administration's Clean Fuels Program, which was used to help fund the purchase of EV buses by several cities across the country. He also visited Proterra in early 2011, calling the bus company "a model for the rest of the country."

"I believe in the need for dependable, lower cost, more sustainable transit options," said LaHood. "EV is the future of transit, and I am pleased to lend my knowledge and support to building this future with Proterra – the clear industry leader and the only American EV bus manufacturer."

"We are incredibly fortunate to work with an expert like Secretary LaHood, who can offer insight into so many of the key issues facing our industry," said Garrett Mikita, president and chief executive officer, Proterra Inc. "He is a true and long-standing supporter of cost effective and sustainable transportation and an advocate of both transit agencies and manufacturers. We look forward to having the benefit of his wisdom and counsel as we work to advance the American transportation system and enable better solutions for taxpayers in transit."

About Proterra

Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacture of clean technology and clean energy, providing zero emission vehicles that enable bus fleet operators to significantly reduce operating cost while delivering clean, quiet power to the community. The EcoRide™ is the world's first battery electric bus with fast charge enabled infinite range. With unmatched durability and energy efficiency based on rigorous industry testing at Altoona, the Proterra product is proudly made in America and based in Greenville, SC. For more information about Proterra, please visit www.proterra.com.


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  • 19 Comments
      BipDBo
      • 53 Minutes Ago
      With range anxiety, I mean the unknown, unforeseen trip, detour errand that might leave you stranded. The Tesla can travel, what, 300 miles on a single charge, a range very rarely used in real life, but purchased at great expense. Electric busses, with good planning, could be scheduled with regular routes well within their range. Quick chargers placed at a couple different positions could increase the flexibility of the system without adding battery capacity. As for a hydrogen hybrid, I'd bet that the result of some government grant rather than good engineering. A diesel or natural gas hybrid would be much cheaper, much easier to implement and quicker to develop.
      Jake
      • 53 Minutes Ago
      Air conditioning and the "quick charge adapter" are in the bubble on top.
      BipDBo
      • 53 Minutes Ago
      OK, I stand corrected.
      • 53 Minutes Ago
      Why aren't public schools required to have these buses?
      BipDBo
      • 53 Minutes Ago
      They are? What's in the big bubble on the roof? Air conditioning?
      • 53 Minutes Ago
      If we must live with revolving door federal regulators, at least we can hope they leave office to promote something worthwhile, like EV busses.
      Ryan
      • 53 Minutes Ago
      We've had electric buses for years here. There are power cables above the road all over town.
        BipDBo
        • 53 Minutes Ago
        @Ryan
        Those cables are expensive, though, and unsightly. They also tether the busses to specific routes. A battery electric bus is like upgrading from a corded land line phone to a cell phone. Cell phones adoption is much quicker in developing countries where land lines were not originally run. The total cost, including individual phones and infrastructure is cheaper with cell phones. Compared to an electric wire trolley, battery busses would be much easier to implement, more flexible, and much cheaper total cost.
          BipDBo
          • 53 Minutes Ago
          @BipDBo
          Yes, I was talking about cities that have not already invested in a wire system. Even those cities, though, have a wire system through just a limited route. Expanded routes are usually done with diesel or NG buses, which could be replaced by BEV buses. Battery buses, per unit would be more expensive than wire trolleys, but when you total up the entire cost of implementation, factoring in the routing of all of that wiring, I'd be shocked if the total cost was still in favor of the wires. And yes I was talking about cities that have not already invested in a wire system. I'm not advocating that they throw all that away and start over.
          GoodCheer
          • 53 Minutes Ago
          @BipDBo
          "I have seen combinations too" Yes, that. If you can charge up anywhere there are cables overhead, and have just 20 miles worth of battery, you could run through the area with existing cables, charging all the way, and then plan new routes or extend existing routes out 7 more miles... or 15 more miles and put in a charging point at the terminus. EV buses where there are overhead wires could offer a huge diversity of options at (comparatively) modest cost.
          JakeY
          • 53 Minutes Ago
          @BipDBo
          "much cheaper total cost" That's assuming you don't have the trolley cables installed yet and that the battery buses are made in the same volume as trolley buses (right now not the case yet). However, it is true that battery buses would be more flexible. There are some routes trolley buses can't travel (and currently those routes are served by diesel buses).
          brotherkenny4
          • 53 Minutes Ago
          @BipDBo
          I have seen combinations too. That is, buses that can get electricity from cables, but also have batteries , say 20 miles worth, so that routes can be altered or they can get around obstructions.
      BipDBo
      • 53 Minutes Ago
      OK, So, I play a little game with myself every time I see an RV or sometimes a bus. I try to identify where the headlights and taillights came from. Anybody else do this? I immediately recognized the taillights as from a Nissan Murano, 2007 being one of the years. The headlight is bugging me, though. I know that headlight. I first thought Chevy Sonic. Not quite right. Not a Lancer. Anyone recognize it? BTW, city bus is the perfect application for BEV. Routes, battery usage, charging times are so predictable and schedulable, so no range anxiety. Use of regenerative breaking maximizes range. No exhaust in the city, no noise. Less maintenance. The list of pros goes on and on. I hope it does well. I keep thinking that because of the center of gravity, those heavy batteries should be under the floor rather than on the roof, but I can also think of so many reasons to put them up high; less vulnerable to impact in a collision, keeping the floor low to minimize passenger step-up, easier to reuse existing bus chassis designs, etc. Same reasons those natural gas powered buses have their tanks on the roof.
        DaveMart
        • 53 Minutes Ago
        @BipDBo
        Proterra hardly think that there is 'no range anxiety' using batteries alone, judging by the fact that they have partnered with Hydrogenics to make a fuel cell battery hybrid: http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-archive/2013/april/cte-kicks-off-next-generation-proterra-bus-powered-by-hydrogenics-fuel-cells
        Jake
        • 53 Minutes Ago
        @BipDBo
        The batteries are under the floor in the Proterra busses.
        JakeY
        • 53 Minutes Ago
        @BipDBo
        The headlights for this bus are from a 6th generation Dodge Charger: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Charger#Sixth_generation:_2006.E2.80.932010
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