Detroit, Michigan – General Motors Ventures will invest US$6 million in Proterra Inc., a manufacturer of zero-emission commercial transit buses.

GM Ventures is part of an investment group that will invest a total of $30 million in the electric bus manufacturer.

Proterra’s EcoRide BE-35 battery electric bus is averaging up to a diesel equivalent of 9.6 L/100 km, an improvement of more than 600 per cent over a typical diesel bus. The lightweight, composite-body bus uses lithium titanate battery packs and recharges in about ten minutes using Proterra’s roof-mounted Fast Fill recharging system.

“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 was founded in 2004 and is currently manufacturing buses in a temporary plant in South Carolina. Three EcoRide BE-35 buses are currently in a test fleet near Pomona, California. Additional buses will be added to that fleet, and new buses and charging stations will be deployed to San Antonio, Texas and Tallahassee, Florida later this year. The company eventually plans to have a capacity of 400 buses annually.

The ten-minute charge gives a range of up to 40 miles (64 km), which the company said can easily replace 80 per cent of diesel buses in typical transit and shuttle use without altering schedules or passenger service. The EcoRide can also be configured for longer ranges while charging at a central location.

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