Heavy-Duty EV Manufacturer Proterra Gets $20 Million in Funding from MK Energy and Infrastructure

June 16, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Proterra Inc., a maker of clean commercial transit solutions including zero emission city buses, announced $20 million in funding from cleantech investor, MK Energy and Infrastructure, LLC (MK E+I). The money will fund Proterra’s efforts to provide cleaner and more economical public transportation options to transit agencies in the United States and internationally.

MK E+I’s investment in Proterra will accelerate its construction of Proterra’s first full-scale manufacturing plant in Greenville, South Carolina, which will break ground later this year and have capacity to make 2,500 EcoRide BE-35 buses annually and employ 1,300 workers over the next five years. Funds will also be used to advance Proterra’s clean technology research and to promote policies in support of clean commuting.

"Our partnership with MK E+I will help us bring new jobs to Greenville and environmentally friendly buses to transit agencies and communities around the world, allowing them to slash fuel costs and significantly reduce noise and air pollution," Proterra President and CEO Jeffery Granato said. "MK E+I provides strategic experience to Proterra as we grow in the United States and look at global expansion. Together we will drive the transit industry into the next era of clean commuting."

At the Greenville plant, Proterra will manufacture its leading transit bus, the EcoRide BE-35, a patented, zero emission, fast-charge, battery-electric transit bus that replaces traditional diesel buses. The company says the EcoRide BE-35 achieves 500% greater fuel efficiency than conventional diesel buses and more than 400% greater efficiency than the most advanced hybrid transit buses traveling the roads today, according to the Federal Transit Administration sponsored Altoona, Pennsylvania Bus Testing Center. Over a 12-year lifecycle, Proterra buses will save an average of $400,000 per bus in fuel costs as compared to a conventional diesel bus and almost $300,000 when compared to advanced hybrid buses. The neighborhood friendly EcoRide BE-35 reduces noise pollution to a fraction of that produced by today’s traditional diesel buses. Moreover, if every diesel transit bus in the United States were replaced with an EcoRide BE-35, it would reduce consumption of fossil fuels by approximately 493 Million gallons per year – more than the amount consumed each year by every single car in the state of Colorado or South Carolina.

"The performance of Proterra’s vehicles, combined with the results of our comprehensive analysis of Proterra’s innovative energy storage, drive and related vehicle platforms, made the investment decision easy," said Ignacio Iribarren, Managing Director of MK E+I. "Our goal is to help Proterra vehicles become the standard in the United States and, eventually, in Europe and Latin America."