General Motors Ventures, LLC, GM’s recently-created venture capital subsidiary, will invest $6 million in South Carolina-based Proterra Inc., a maker of lightweight, zero-emission commercial transit buses.
Proterra’s new EcoRide BE-35 electric is averaging as much as 24 MPG (diesel equivalent), which is a 600 percent improvement over your conventional diesel bus. The BE-35 electric also has a range of 40 miles and — believe it or not — the bus can recharge its lithium titanate batteries in around 10 minutes from the vehicle’s roof-mounted Fast Fill recharging system. Operational costs are as low as 18 cents per mile, while diesel buses are over a dollar in comparison.
There are currently three EcoRide BE-35 buses in a pilot fleet over in California, but with this new round of funding, Proterra plans on completing the necessary federal validation testing of its bus as well as adding more buses to its California fleet. It also plans to roll out additional pilot fleets in Florida and Texas, and complete steps that to finish its Greenville, S.C. manufacturing plant, which will be able to produce 400 buses annually.