Current diesel buses consume about a gallon for every 3 to 4 miles. In contrast, electric buses are fuel-efficient and do not pollute the environment. Proterra Inc. designs and manufactures these electric buses.
The cost to purchase these new make is substantially higher than purchasing diesel buses. This is because they are run using Toshiba and LG Chem batteries, and a carbon fiber merged fuselage.
Their competitive edge is likely to arise due to falling lithium-ion batteries costs, repairs costs and from the fuel-efficiency advantage. Investors have already invested $55 million into this model and believe the yields will be worthwhile.In addition, the company secured $135 million debt funding.
The CEO of Ryan People told Fortune that among all vehicles, buses and tractors are not efficient vehicles. The dropping prices of diesel and batteries have also not affected the operations at Ryan People.
Tesla’s factory near Reno in Nevada is planning to create capacity for generation of 50 gigawatt-hours every year, starting 2016. This will have a major impact in reduction of the prices of electric cars. Other related companies are also responding positively to the strides that Tesla factory is making.
Additionally, Tesla has raised about $110 to fund its operations. Out of the amount, investors have pumped-in $30 while the remaining sum is from Hercules Technology Growth Capital. Many investors have stake in Tesla, with some opting to remain unnamed. Known investors include Mike Dorsey, Miriam Rivera, Kleiner Perkins, Tao Capital Partners, GM Ventures and Constellation Energy. Mike and Miriam had earlier invested in Tesla Motors and Palantir Technologies.
Proterra debt funding will be poured into the new factory in the City of Industry, California. The factory will be ready for operation at the end of 2015 with 70 employees. It will help boost capacity for Proterra’s production plans. Further, the California Energy Commission put-forward $3 million in April 2014 to lift the company’s operations.
Proterra Greenville factory has a turnover of one electric bus a week and already has 110 orders. The company anticipates to serve Seattle after California and San Antonio, and subsequently, Louisville, Kentucky and Stockton.