When you think about electric vehicles with which to set distance records, transit buses probably aren't the first things that spring to mind. Yet, that's exactly what Proterra used to set a new high-water mark of 700-miles-in-24-hours recently and, upon some reflection, it makes a whole lot of sense.

Firstly, buses are what the South Carolina-based company produces, so of course that's what they would use to set a record with – duh! Seriously though, the approach Proterra has taken to achieve a highly-efficient people mover – extreme light-weighting through the use of a composite body and a relatively small battery that can be charged fast and often – is one that goes against the more traditional approach of stuffing as many batteries as possible into the floor of a conventional chassis. So, putting it to the test of distance over elapsed time seems quite apropos.

During the feat, the EcoRide BE-35 traveled at an average of 29 miles per hour with, notably, the HVAC system engaged. Not only did it roll more than 700 miles, it got an estimated 27 MPGe while doing so. A typical diesel-powered bus would return something closer to 6 miles per gallon (some sources report much less, even.) This, obviously, is a big win for fueling costs and environmental impact on city air.

You can read the official press release by scrolling below, where it awaits along with a video showing a Proterra bus doing its fast-charge thing through an overhead setup.
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Proterra Sets Record for Most Miles Traveled in a Day by a Battery-Electric Transit Bus

Bus travels more than 700 miles with incredible fuel economy

A bus built by Proterra has set a record for the most miles traveled by a battery-electric bus in a day – traveling more than 700 miles in 24 hours. Equally impressive is the fact that on this trip the bus recorded an average fuel economy of nearly 27 miles per gallon – nearly six times that of a diesel bus and seven times that of CNG. The record was set as part of normal testing conducted on Proterra buses before they are delivered.

The bus used for this test is set to go into revenue service in the Southeastern United States within the next few months.

"This record offers definitive proof that all-electric Proterra buses combine all the durability and functionality of conventional buses, while significantly reducing total cost of ownership, fuel consumption and greenhouse emissions," said Garrett Mikita, CEO, Proterra Inc. "We are even more proud of the fact that we demonstrated this performance using a regular production bus with the same features and performance we build into all our buses."

The test was conducted in mid-April on a route designed to simulate both commuter and central business district routes and drive cycles.

The bus, which ran an average of 29 miles per hour with the HVAC system running, was charged periodically throughout the day, using Proterra's proprietary fast-charging process. This technology allows a bus to fully charge in less time than it takes to charge a cell phone.

Proterra is the only EV bus manufacturer with buses currently in revenue service in the United States. Its buses operate in San Antonio, Worcester, Reno, Stockton, Pomona and Tallahassee, with deliveries scheduled for Nashville and Louisville, among others. Based on the strong performance of its buses, Proterra has earned repeat orders from several agencies and played a key role in spurring the interest in and growth of EV transit throughout the country.

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. With unmatched durability and energy efficiency based on rigorous industry testing at Altoona, the Proterra product is proudly made in America and the company based in Greenville, SC. For more information about Proterra, please visit www.proterra.com.

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