Earlier this year, Proterra was proud when one of its buses went 180 miles on a charge, so a 70-mile increase in half a year is a big deal. Since Proterra says the average city bus goes 200 miles a day, that should give fleet managers some measure of comfort that a quiet, clean electric bus will be able to serve their cities. Proterra CEO Ryan Popple told AutoblogGreen that with increased electric range comes a total cost of ownership that's lower than diesel and CNG buses. "The driving force behind owning and operating electric buses is not simply environmental benefits but financial gains," he said. "In a side-by-side comparison to diesel, the total cost of ownership of Proterra's Catalyst is $140,000 less than diesel and $335,000 less than diesel-hybrids."
The range increase isn't just due to bigger battery packs, either. The 180-mile bus test in February used 321 kWhs of batteries. The 258-mile bus did the deed using "just' 257 kWh. Because of the increased range and energy density, Proterra now says that it expects its 321-kWh bus to be able to go over 300 miles on a charge. Where will that number be next year, do you think?