Proterra CEO Makes Bold Prediction About Electric Buses

Proterra CEO Makes Bold Prediction About Electric Buses

Since the company was founded 13 years ago in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, Proterra has become the most well-known electric bus manufacturer in North America—and possibly the world. Proterra’s fast-charging technology, which allows its buses to be recharged in as little as 10 minutes, has prompted many former skeptics to rethink the potential of electric bus transit.

Now, Proterra CEO Ryan Popple has made a remarkable prediction that highlights his optimism about the future of electric bus development: By 2020, one-third of all new transit buses will be electric. Furthermore, Popple expects electric buses to account for half of all fleet purchase by 2025, and that by 2030 every new transit bus will be electric.

Coming from anyone else, this prediction might seem a little suspect. But Popple, who has also served as the CEO of Tesla Motors, knows more about the electric vehicle market than just about anyone else in the world. Plus, he’s got the statistics to back up his claim.

Proterra’s electric buses have a low price point that’s already made them fierce contenders against diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) options. Lithium-ion battery prices are also expected to decline dramatically in the next five years, which could make electric buses even more affordable and appealing to transit companies. In this industry, a low price point can have a huge influence on the purchasing decisions of fleet operators.

If Popple’s predictions are correct, electric buses could soon become the new norm in major cities across the US. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Proterra Releases Patents For Fast-Charging Technology

Proterra Releases Patents For Fast-Charging Technology

Since it was founded in 2004, Proterra has become one of the biggest names in zero-emission bus design in the world.  Last year, Fortune Magazine went so far as to call the company the Tesla of electric buses. According to Bloomberg BNA, the company currently controls about 80 percent of the U.S. market for electric buses. You can find Proterra’s electric buses in cities all over the country – from Seattle to Reno to Nashville.

What distinguishes Proterra from its competitors isn’t just its commitment to electric vehicles; it’s the company’s proprietary rapid-charging technology that allows their buses to be recharged in as little as 10 minutes. This technology has alleviated one of the chief concerns many transit authorities have had about electric buses in the past – namely, the equipment downtime necessitated by long charging times. With Proterra’s overhead charging system, its buses can recharge quickly at stops and operate all day long. Now, in an effort to encourage other industries to adopt electric vehicles, Proterra has announced that it will make three of the patents on its fast-charging system open to the public.

“We really want to stay focused on perfecting electric vehicles for the transit bus industry,” said Proterra CEO Ryan Popple in an interview with Fortune. “One of the ways we can help other entities not have to reinvent the wheel or reinvent the charger, is to open this up, provide information, and supplier access and let other companies go after applications that really aren’t core to us or our customers.”

This isn’t the first time companies in the alternative fuel market have made their technologies open source. In the past, both Toyota and Tesla have released electric vehicle patents to the public. In doing so, they hope to foster further competition and innovation in the electric vehicle market, and ease concerns about electric vehicles that have been perpetuated by gas companies. Releasing proprietary technology to competitors might seem counterintuitive from a business standpoint, but in fact it could be good for all of these companies in the long run.

Former Tesla Employee Making Electric City Buses

Former Tesla Employee Making Electric City Buses

Since the company was founded over a decade ago by a pair of bold entrepreneurs, Tesla Motors has continually defied expectations and shattered records with their line of electric cars, changing the way we think about the long-term practicality and potential impact of these futuristic vehicles. Now, a former employee of Tesla is working to make a similar impact on the bus market.
 
Proterra is a Greenville, S.C.-based company that was founded in 2004 by bus industry veteran Dale Hill. By the time Ryan Popple of Tesla joined the team, Proterra was poised to do something truly remarkable. Since then, they’ve created a fully electric bus from the ground up, aiming for Tesla-like innovation and performance.
 
Already, they’ve achieved some truly impressive performance benchmarks. Proterra’s electric buses can travel up to 200 miles on a single charge and then recharge in as little as ten minutes. They’ve also set records for acceleration, grade-climbing and efficiency. Not only that, Proterra’s product holds the distinction of being the lightest electric bus ever made. Of course the features that passengers are most likely to appreciate are its quiet operation and lack of diesel fumes.
 
In addition to the innovations within the buses, Proterra has also introduced wireless charging stations that allow the buses to be quickly and discreetly charged while waiting at bus stops. Major cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, and Lexington have already started employing the buses in their transit system. By 2016, Proterra hopes to have over 100 of its buses in cities all across the country. Once a second factory is completed in California’s San Gabriel Valley, Proterra will be able to bring even more of its record-breaking buses to a street near you.