Trump climate decision energizes business for Proterra electric bus

Paris decision may have been 'yuge' for e-bus demand

  • Image Credit: Proterra

Electric-bus maker Proterra may be benefiting from President Donald Trump's decision last month to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement. The US-based company, which has factories in South Carolina and Southern California, just received a $55 million round of equity funding led by Al Gore's Generation Investment Management and BMW's i Ventures. In fact, Proterra represents the Bimmer venture group's first-ever investment in heavy-duty transportation. That round, Proterra's sixth, follows up a funding round earlier this year worth about $140 million.

More important, Trump's decision may have spurred more orders for the buses, which can go between 200 and 350 miles on a full charge, Forbes says. Many cities took issue with Trump's decision and, as a result, municipal leaders decided to trade in more diesel and natural-gas powered buses for the electric variants, which cost about $750,000 each.

Proterra, whose headquarters are in the Silicon Valley, says there are about 400 buses on order, with cities such as Dallas, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Seattle taking the plunge. The company more than tripled its sales in 2016, and is tripling production this year. Proterra estimates that it has a 60 percent market share of the North American electric bus market. The company is also working on an autonomous bus program with the University of Nevada, Reno.

Last year, Proterra made news in these pages by releasing about two-dozen of its fast-charging patents to the general public. Because of such fast-charging capabilities, Proterra says its buses can go as far as 700 miles in a single day.

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