Clean Transport

Published on July 24th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


California City First To Get 2nd-Generation Proterra Electric Bus

July 24th, 2014 by  


Are electric buses the public transit path to the future? Proterra thinks so, and so does the Foothill Transit Authority of West Covina, California. They became the first transit system in the country to offer revenue-based service of a Proterra electric bus in the U.S., and now the small city east of L.A. will be the first to get Proterra’s second-generation, 300+ mile electric bus, reports Green Car Congress.

With a 20.8 MPGe, the Proterra electric bus also offers the lowest cost per passenger, which has compelled the Foothill Transit Authority to purchase two of the second-generation buses, which can do about 26 miles of driving per charge, after which a fast charger tops it off. Officially rated at more than 300 miles of driving per charge day, though the first-gen buses could go more than 700 miles per day with enough recharging.

This is just the latest battle in the electric bus war, as America’s Proterra goes head-to-head against China’s BYD (which, it should be noted, is building it’s buses stateside). With the two second-generation Proterra buses to be delivered in December of this year, we will move past the first-generation of electric buses with their higher costs and shorter range.

Momentum is building in Proterra’s favor, but BYD isn’t to be dismissed either, as the Chinese automaker has gone all-in with plug-in vehicles for both personal and public transit. Which of these two companies will dominate the public transit landscape in the coming decade?

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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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.

  • Vensonata

    We’ve been had. This article is dead wrong about range per charge.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Yo, Christopher!

      Do you do follow up reading of comments? (If not, please start subscribing to your articles.)

  • JamesWimberley

    “Momentum is building in Proterra’s favor.” Momentum is mass x velocity. Two buses sold to one small town isn’t much mass. This is not the match of equals with market leader BYD that struggling Proterra is trying to pitch..

    • No way

      What? Do you mean that two buses sold doesn’t give you the same momentum as BYD which has sold a few thousand buses during the last year, finalised and started production in their US bus factory and will have a bus factory in Brazil for 1000 buses a year in 2015 and are already selling on at least 4 continents.
      But but…

      • Bob_Wallace

        But it’s an American bus.

        And we’re always Number One!!!!

        • No way

          :)… The sad thing is that too many americans believe that instead of actually working toward that goal. Thankfully the percentage of people understanding the improvement needed is growing every day.

  • vensonata

    wow, 300 miles! I’m way behind the times…I thought 175 miles was good. These buses seem ready for Greyhound type service let alone city runs. Usually city buses do about 160 miles a day.

    • No way

      You’re not behind. It is 30 miles per charge, and even that is an unrealistic number. But it works for city routes with many and specified stops with fast chargers installed.
      Not even the world leader in electric buses, BYD, gets 300 miles on a charge yet.

      • Vensonata

        But, but,but, it says “300miles of driving per charge”. English is my first language, and that means that the bus can travel 300 miles on a charge…or did I not read the fine print?

        • No way

          English is my third language, but I speak EV fluently 😉 and something must have gotten lost in translation since the article is just plainly wrong.
          “300 miles of driving per charge” should have been “27 miles of driving per charge and in a full day with enough fast chargers along the route it can reach 300 miles in total”.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That matches my initial reading about Proterra buses. With on-route charging they can reasonably cover 300 miles a day.

            I took the wording of this article to mean that they now had 300 mile range without periodic charging.

        • Vensonata

          Hey, you’re right, just checked it out. The article is dead wrong. Any editors on this site?

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