Proterra, an electric bus and battery manufacturing startup, has raised $200 million from an investment group led by Cowen Sustainable Advisors and including Soros Fund Management, Generation Investment Management and Broadscale Group.
The Burlingame, California-based company will use the money for research and development and to expand its technology to other vehicle segments and to provide supplemental charging and energy management to fleet operators.
In August, Proterra unveiled a new battery pack that can be customized for heavy-duty commercial vehicles. The company’s new Series H battery pack can hold between 25 and 75 kilowatt-hours of energy storage, while its earlier Series S pack can hold up to 113 kilowatt-hours of power.
Proterra has about 500 transit buses deployed with 120 customers in the United States and Canada who collectively logged more than 14 million miles of service.
“As demand grows for battery-electric vehicles and 100% zero-emission fleets, we are excited to collaborate with Cowen and other investors to accelerate the transition to clean, quiet transportation for all and deliver even more Proterra Powered vehicles around the world,” Jack Allen, Proterra CEO and chairman, said in a statement.
Proterra vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions and decrease dependency on fossil fuels. Each time a Proterra battery-electric bus replaces a diesel vehicle, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by more than 200,000 pounds.
Among its customers are Thomas Built Bus, Van Hool, BusTech and Optimal-EV.
Back in February 2020, Proterra announced it is supplying battery packs, motors and other components for Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.’s MT50e line of panel trucks that are capable of hauling up to 23,000 pounds of freight and travel about 125 miles per charge.
Daimler, which owns Freightline, also has invested in Proterra.
“Electrification of commercial transport is imminent in our view because of clear environmental and social benefits as well as attractive unit economics,” Vusal Najafov, Cowen Sustainable co-founder, said in a statement. “Proterra is well positioned to be a leader in this transition because of its leading technology and its decade-long track record of manufacturing at scale.”
Sales of electric passenger vehicles still account for between 2% and 3% of the U.S. light vehicle market, there’s been a wave of new products and investment for expanding electrifed powertrains for larger commercial vehicles and public transit buses.
There is widespread recognition that regulations in most of the developed world will incentivize the development and sales of vehicles that reduce climate-warming carbon emissions.
Examples include Elon Musk’s battery-powered Tesla Semi and long-haul trucks from Nikola, Toyota and Hyundai powered by hydrogen to startup Rivian which is using the same “skateboard” platform developed for electric pickups and SUVs to newcomer Arrival’s electric vans made from recyclable composite materials.