The heavy-duty electric bus firm Proterra recently secured $140 million in new funding through a recent Series 5 funding round.
These new funds, which were raised in partnership with the financial industry giant JP Morgan, will reportedly be used for the “dramatic” acceleration of production capacity on both coasts of the US, as well as the continuing development of next-gen electric vehicle offerings.
The new equity funding round saw $40 million from an undisclosed investor, another $60 million from a number of new investors, and the difference made up by the existing board-level investors Tao Capital Partners, GM Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Constellation Technology Ventures, 88 Green Ventures, and Edison Energy, amongst others.
The news follows somewhat closely on our previous coverage (back in September) of the company’s new Catalyst E2 Series electric buses, which possess a nominal range of ~350 miles per full charge.
It should also probably be noted here, in order to give a better sense of why the company sought out the new funding, that Proterra’s sales awards more than doubled in 2016 (as compared to 2015). So the company is clearly in the position to grow rapidly over the coming years, and thus in need of further equity funding.
The press release provides some further details on the company’s expansion plans: “Proterra aims to increase production in its East Coast facility, located in Greenville, South Carolina, by 300% and initiate production in its City of Industry facility in Los Angeles County. Combined, the facilities will more efficiently serve customers around the US. Proterra will hire key personnel in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and Greenville to support production growth, as well as implement new manufacturing equipment and systems.”
The chairman of the Proterra board of directors (and also a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers), Rob Johnson, commented: “2016 was an exceptional year for Proterra, and the future growth of this company looks just as promising as it hits a tipping point with transit agencies who are embracing the pivot from diesel- and CNG-powered buses to zero emission mass transit. Proterra’s new Catalyst E2 Series represents the first direct replacement for fossil-fueled buses. It is more cost-effective, offers positive public health and environmental benefits and simply outperforms diesel.”
I’m very interested in seeing how Proterra’s expansion plans go over the next few years. Of all of the American companies currently operating in the electric vehicle industry, Proterra is one of the few that could seemingly have a genuinely big effect on things and spur a faster transition to zero emissions vehicles.