Proterra BE35 all-electric bus – Click above to watch video after the jump

Mass transit can be a great way to get around a city, allowing you to either leave your car parked or forgo vehicle ownership altogether (David Suzuki would approve). Now, Proterra is removing the nasty diesel smoke from the bus component of these systems, putting their first three all-electric buses into full-time service in Eastern Los Angeles County's San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys.

A trio of composite-bodied EcoRide BE35s, along with a pair of inductive fast-charge stations, have been delivered to Foothills Transit, which plans on putting as many as 60,000 miles a year on the 68-passenger beasts of burden. The contract includes an option for nine more units if things go smoothly during validation. Proterra likely has all its fingers and toes crossed in hopes they make a good impression given that 15 per cent of Californian transit agencies bus buys must be zero emission machines starting in 2012. They hope to build as many as 100 buses next year and 250 in 2012 at their new Greenville, SC manufacturing facility where they currently have four units in production.

The Ecoliners, as they have been dubbed by Foothills Transit, rely on the liquid-cooled UQM PowerPhase150 motors to turn the wheels while the batteries are from Altairnano, allowing them to be charged in under ten minutes. Hit the jump for a short video of the riding experience as well as bonus walk-around footage and the official press release.

[Source: Earth2Tech / Proterra]


Proterra Launches First Deployment of All-Electric, Zero-Emission Buses by Major Transit Agency

Leading Heavy-Duty EV Bus Manufacturer Provides Cost Effective, Comfortable Green Commercial Transit Solutions to Southern Californians

* Proterra EcoRide bus to serve one of Foothill Transit's busiest and most challenging routes
* Helps California transit agencies meet mandated 15 percent zero emission bus target
* Introduces enhanced experience for bus riders with reduced air and noise pollution

Golden, Colo. – August 31, 2010 – Proterra Inc, a leading maker of zero-emission commercial transit solutions, today announced the first major deployment of its EcoRide BE35™ zero-emission, fast-charge battery-electric transit buses by Foothill Transit, a premier public transport provider that operates bus services in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, located in the eastern portion of Los Angeles County. On Sep. 3, Foothill Transit will launch the Proterra EcoRide BE35™ buses and related fast charging stations into its existing bus fleet and transit routes with the goal of establishing a full fleet of clean-fueled vehicles by 2011.

"The first commercial deployment of Proterra's battery-electric buses by a major transit agency like Foothill Transit is a significant milestone for Proterra and a bold step by the nation in our collective effort to decrease dependence on fossil fuel," Proterra President and CEO Jeffery Granato said. "We look forward to additional communities throughout the U.S. and globally benefitting from the highly efficient, cost effective, clean alternative transit solution now available with the introduction of the EcoRide BE35™."

The deployment of Proterra's EcoRide BE35™ buses, known as the "Ecoliner" by Foothill Transit, greatly advances the electric transit industry, providing a real-world example of the benefits and ease of deployment of Proterra's zero emission buses and charging solutions. It further demonstrates transit agencies' existing appetite for cleaner commuting options. In addition to its unmatched performance and overall cost savings, Proterra's clean transit solutions offers California transit agencies solutions to address the Zero Emission Bus (Zbus) regulation, which requires large California agencies to purchase 15 percent of their annual bus orders as zero emission buses starting in 2012.

Proterra's EcoRide BE35™ buses are unlike any conventional or hybrid-electric passenger bus available on the market today. The bus significantly reduces air and noise pollution for riders and local communities, while dramatically reducing vehicle operation costs for transit agencies. The EcoRide BE35™ contains all electric components, including an electric drive motor supplied by UQM that allows greater acceleration than that of a conventional bus, combined with leading technology solutions that allow for a quiet and smooth uninterrupted ride. With up to three hours of operation and the ability to recharge in less than 10 minutes on route, Proterra's buses can easily be incorporated into any transit agencies' existing routes without impacting their schedules or routes while delivering a quieter, more comfortable experience to riders. Additionally, without the maintenance or fuel costs associated with conventional buses, the Proterra BE35™ achieves a 400 percent improvement in fuel economy, and greater than $300,000 savings in total lifetime operating expenses.

About Proterra Inc.

Proterra is answering the international call for efficient, cost-effective and environmentally responsible heavy-duty vehicle solutions. Headquartered in Golden, Colorado, Proterra is a leading designer and manufacturer of heavy-duty electric drive systems, energy storage systems, vehicle control systems, transit buses and fast charging stations. Proterra's systems are scalable to all forms of commercial buses and Class 6-8 trucks. Proterra's initial products, a 35' battery-electric transit bus and on-route fast charging station, have been designed from the ground up to enable a world's first ever solution for transit agencies to replace conventional diesel buses on a one-for-one basis with all-electric buses operating 24/7. This is accomplished by combining Proterra's light-weight composite body, highly efficient ProDriveTM, advanced TerraVoltTM energy storage system and on-route rooftop FastChargingTM station to charge the bus in 5-10 minutes. The vehicle achieves between 18 and 29 miles per gallon diesel fuel equivalent fully loaded with 68 passengers – 500% better than a comparable diesel bus.

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