GM Ventures invests $6 million in electric bus maker

Proterra EcoRide BE-35

General Motors Ventures LLC announced today that it will invest $6 million in Proterra Inc., a leading maker of zero-emission commercial transit buses. GM Ventures is part of an investment group, led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers that will invest a total of $30 million in the bus manufacturer.

“Proterra’s EcoRide BE-35 battery electric bus is averaging up to 24 mpg (diesel equivalent) in service, a more than 600-percent improvement over a typical diesel bus,” GM Ventures said in a statement. “Using technology developed by Proterra, the lightweight, composite-body bus recharges in about 10 minutes.”

“This equity investment further demonstrates GM’s commitment to electric propulsion and supports our commitment to identify and invest in technology solutions that help advance the global transportation industry,” said Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures. “While this investment will help Proterra commercialize its electric bus and fast-charging technology, it also helps to address the future challenges of urban mobility.”

Proterra Inc. is currently producing trucks in a temporary plant in Greenville, S.C. near Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. Proterra’s TerraVolt energy storage system consists of 54-72 kWh lithium titanate battery packs that can recharge in 10 minutes using the company’s roof-mounted Fast Fill recharging system.

On a full charge, the bus has a range of 40 miles and with the use of the 10-minute fast charger. The Proterra EcoRide BE-35 can replace 80 percent of diesel buses in typical transit. It can also be configured for longer ranges while charging at a central location.

– By: Omar Rana