According to two announcements this month, Proterra, a Golden, Colorado-based company that is developing battery electric transit buses and related products, has received investments totaling $50 million.
In the first announcement, the company stated that MK Energy and Infrastructure, LLC had invested $20 million. Proterra said the funds will be used for purposes including accelerating the construction of the company's first full-scale manufacturing plant in Greenville, South Carolina.
In the second announcement, Proterra stated that it received $30 million. This investment was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and includes GM Ventures, Mitsui & Co., Vision Ridge Partners, and 88 Green Ventures. The company said that it will use these funds to support the commercialization of its battery electric transit buses and automated bus charging system.
Proterra's products include the battery electric EcoRide BE-35 (video below), which is being used at Foothill Transit in Pomona, California and will be used by VIA Transit in San Antonio and Tallahassee StarMetro later this year. According to Proterra, the BE-35 is averaging almost 24 miles per gallon (diesel equivalent), which represent a more than 600% improvement over a typical diesel bus, which averages under 4 miles per gallon. Proterra also produces a FastFill charging station that can charge the bus in 5 – 10 minutes through a rooftop connection.
"Our goal at Proterra is to fundamentally transform urban transit," said Jeff Granato, Chief Executive Officer of Proterra, "The tremendous resources of Kleiner Perkins, leveraged with GM’s automotive expertise and the financial and technical strength of Mitsui, Vision Ridge and 88 Green Ventures gives us an enviable platform to compete and win in the electric transit bus market."
“Electrification of public transportation has tremendous benefits to governments, municipalities andciti¬zens by reducing the operating cost of transit, while also eliminating local air pollution and reducing C02 per passenger mile in the industry,” said Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President and Partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Proterra also announced that it has added Michael Linse, a partner at KPCB, to the company's Board of Directors and elected David Lehmann as its new board chair. Mr. Lehmann's experience includes conducting business in 28 countries for companies such as GE, Caterpillar, and Solar Turbines. Proterra is headquartered in Golden, Colorado and has a manufacturing facility in Greenville, South Carolina.
– This post was written by Rob Stewart, a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Urban Sustainability at the Antioch University of Los Angeles, and edited by Leonard Adler, Founder and Publisher of Green VC. Image credit: Proterra.