New electric bus has longer range than a Tesla

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Silicon Valley startup has gotten one step closer to its goal of eliminating the need for fossil-fuel buses.

Electric bus company Proterra Inc. unveiled its latest Catalyst E2 series at the American Public Transportation Association’s annual meeting in Los Angeles today.

The electric bus has a storage capacity of 440 to 660 kilowatt-hours and a range of roughly 350 miles between charges.

The Catalyst E2, which can accommodate 77 passengers, has a longer range than either the Tesla Model S or a Tesla Model 3, which can travel 315 and 215 miles between charges, respectively.

Proterra already makes two other electric bus models, both of which have extremely limited ranges of under 50 miles per charge. Though the company has put 312 electric buses on the road since it was founded in 2004, executives have been hoping to design an electric vehicle that could be as easy for transit agencies to use as traditionally fueled buses.

The E2 is Proterra’s solution, designed to travel some of the longest municipal bus routes in the nation.

Proterra CEO Ryan Popple bills the E2 as the “no-compromise replacement for all fossil fuel buses.”

“Proterra’s primary goal has always been to create a purpose-built, high-performance electric vehicle that can serve every single transit route in the United States,” he said in a statement. “Today, with the unveiling of the Catalyst E2 Series, that goal has been achieved.”

There are 1,178 bus systems in the United States, according to APTA. Most of those use diesel buses, though diesel-hybrid and natural-gas-fueled buses have been gaining popularity as municipalities look to replace their fleet with greener options.

Popple said the Catalyst E2 now makes going all electric a viable alternative to any of the current options.

“The question is no longer who will be an early adopter of this technology, but rather who will be the last to commit to a future of clean, efficient, and sustainable mobility,” he said. “Battery-electric vehicles have now broken down the final barrier to widespread market adoption.”