Clean Transport

Published on May 18th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Proterra Electric Bus Sets New Record Of Driving 700 Miles In 24 Hours

May 18th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2.


The battle of the electric buses is heating up, and the latest “win” goes Team Proterra, covering 700 miles of driving in 24 hours, a new record. This follows BYD’s own record-setting run of over 200 miles between charges, with both bus companies showing considerable strength in what could become a huge market.

Proterra claims its test route was designed to simulate real-world bus routes in both commuter and business districts, recording an average speed of 29 MPH and with the HVAC system running. In 24 hours, the Proterra bus managed to cover over 700 miles, way more miles than most municipalities will cover in an average day. In the grand scheme of things though, it’s merely a skirmish in the larger war between Proterra and BYD.

While Proterra recently won contracts to supply it electric buses in Tennessee and Massachusetts among others, BYD seems to have locked up the lucrative left coast with contracts throughout California. Is there room for two players in the electric public transit market? It’s America vs. China in the battle of the electric buses, and there’s no clear winner yet.

Source: ChargedEVs

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Offgridmanpolktn

    The idea of this being a battle is just wrong, with the millions of buses on American roads there is plenty of market for both companies. BYD’s more generic approach with longer runs on a bigger battery will be more suitable for some purposes (school buses). With Proterra aiming towards more luxurious with extremely fast (under ten minutes and wireless) charging will attract the cross country and tour business.
    With a fast check showing more than twenty types of fossil fuel bus companies in the US now there will be plenty of room for both of these electric and many more bus companies.

    • Ronald Brakels

      It won’t be used cross country. The Proterra bus only manages about 30-40 miles on a charge. The plan is to use them in cities and have them charge regularly at bus stops.

  • JamesWimberley

    Proterra would like to present this as a battle of equals. In the reality of the global market, it’s David versus Goliath. Proterra has sold 7 buses to Tennessee and 6 to Massachusetts. BYD has sold 700 to Dalian and 2,000 to Hangchou.

    The impressive maximum ranges achieved for PR runs by both are are only relevant to the tiny inter-urban bus market. 150 miles on a charge is enough for almost all urban bus routes. After that, purchase price and reliability become more important to fleet operators.

  • serry

    What I don’t understand is – how big must the battery be to run a bus for 700 miles. So a car like tesla model s needs a heavy battery to get a lot less distance than that, and that’s a car, a bus weighs a lot lot more. Is the battery a multi-tonne thing?

    • Ronald Brakels

      The battery is tiny. It didn’t run for 700 hours off one charge. It’s philosophy is completely different from that of Tesla or the BYD buses. It is make to charge frequently at normal bus stops. The disadvantage of this is it needs its charging infrastructure in place for this to work. Provided the regular charging stations are cheap enough and they get enough use, this approach can work, but it makes it difficult to introduce it incrementally and it’s vulnerable to declines in battery prices. The Proterra bus can be configured as a hybrid to work around a lack of charging places but that’s obviously not an ideal solution for cutting emissions and in city pollution. A lot of places are going to want to get one electric bus to test it out before committing to more and it is difficult to do this with the Proterra in pure electric mode.

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