Colorado-based electric bus company Proterra has announced that it has received investments totaling $30 million thanks to a Silicon Valley firm managed by former Vice President Al Gore, including $6 million from giant automaker General Motors.
GM has been involved in public transit for years, especially when still operating Allison Transmission, which services several lines in the United States. The manufacturer’s economic confidence in the electric bus company, not to mention the influx of millions, is expected to help Proterra expand operations outside the single test project in California that was funded by the federal government.
The new investment funding will also go towards increasing production of the Ecoline electric bus to 400 vehicles each year at Proterra’s facility in South Carolina, which the company says will create over 2,000 new jobs over the next four years.
The Ecoline bus has a stated range of only 40 miles, but also takes less than 10 minutes to fully charge, making it idealistically suitable to replace nearly 80% of diesel buses without affecting service, according to GM. And Proterra claims its electric vehicle has fuel economy equivalent to 24 miles per gas, compared to a typical bus which gets just 4 miles per gallon. For more information about Proterra, read our interview with the company’s CEO, Jeff Granato, conducted earlier this year.