Proterra just released a new all-electric bus that can go farther than 600 miles and can average 350 miles delivering passengers.
The electric bus manufacturer debuted its Catalyst E2 series bus Monday at the annual meeting of the American Public Transit Association in Los Angeles. Proterra is selling the Catalyst E2 for $740,000 to municipalities.
The company took a 603-mile test run at a Michigan proving ground last month. That was more than twice the range of the company’s previous model. With a bus full of passengers on a typical municipal route, that translates to about 350 miles per charge of real world bus driving, according to Proterra CEO Ryan Popple.
“We learned that for some cities there was a real need for buses that could do routes of 350 miles without recharging,” Popple said.
Proterra engineers were able to reduce bus weight through the use of carbon fiber, and also improved the energy density of the battery packs, according to Popple.
Based in Burlingame, Calif., the company operates an east coast manufacturing plant in Greenville, S.C., and a west coast plant in City of Industry, Calif. California has been a good market for the bus manufacturer, with the first 34 E2 models going to the Foothill Transit Authority in Los Angeles county. Reno, Nev., and 11 other cities will also be receiving deliveries of the electric bus.
Its main competitor, Chinese company BYD, is also based in California and has delivered into that market. BYD is planning on delivering 300 electric buses to several California cities this year, including Lancaster and Palmdale; the company has a manufacturing plant just north of Los Angeles.
BYD’s electric buses can travel somewhere between 160 and 200 miles per charge, according to USA Today.
Municipal transit agencies have been moving away from diesel buses for several years, with compressed natural gas being widely used as an alternative fuel. Electric buses are just starting to break into the municipal bus market in the U.S.