Proterra EcoRide BE-35 Electric Bus Project Gets GM Ventures Fund Boost

June 14, 2011, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Wouldn’t you like to be witness to many a  Proterra sail by? The Proterra EcoRide BE-35 battery electric bus is, in fact, the current avatar in the green transportation avenue. What’s indeed amazing is the fact that the vehicle can remarkably undergo quick 10-minute recharging time to give 40 miles of range.

For the same reason, investment group Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led by General Motors Ventures has invested $30 million in Proterra.

They are of the opinion that with range and recharge time values marking high standards; the EcoRide can replace about 80 percent of traditional buses currently in the US, without altering the current schedule.

Manufactured by Proterra, the efficient EcoRide BE-35 battery electric bus averages 24 million per gallon equivalent. That is like saying the average is 600 percent higher than the traditional diesel buses. Operating the BE-35 costs only approximately 18 cents per mile, in contrast to something in between $3.27 to $4.50 for CNG or any hybrid buses.

Consisting of 54-72 kWh lithium titanate battery packs, Proterra’s own TerraVolt energy storage system is an innovation that the company can boast about. The battery packs do not in any means affect the seating space or luggage capacity, as they are part of a roof-mounted Fast Fill recharging system. The batteries are docked underneath the floor of the bus.

No further explanation is needed to explain as to how the vehicle managed to get the huge investment. The investment showcases GM’s commitment to electric propulsion and support to technologies that help advance the global transportation industry.

The investment would back Proterra to commercialize the  electric bus and also the fast-charging technology. The bus can – at a time – carry 68 passengers and is surely a paradigm of inventive eco-transport. Don’t you think so? Tell us your views.

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