Sunday, August 7, 2011

Electric Buses...not in Oregon

Sustainable Business Oregon

All-electric bus manufacturer Proterra Inc. said Monday it has received $30 million from a group of investors led by Silicon Valley venture powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Other investors in the Golden-based private company include GM Ventures, Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Vision Ridge Partners and 88 Green Ventures LLC.

Proterra said the money will be used to complete federal testing of its buses, roll out more test fleets and work on cutting costs and raising volume production at the company’s Greenville, S.C., manufacturing plant. The plant can produce about 400 buses a year.

“Our goal at Proterra is to fundamentally transform urban transit,” said Jeff Granato, Proterra’s CEO, in a statement. “The tremendous resources of Kleiner Perkins, leveraged with GM’s automotive expertise and the financial and technical strength of Mitsui, Vision Ridge and 88 Green Ventures gives us an enviable platform to compete and win in the electric transit bus market.”

On its website, Proterra boasts its commitment to U.S. sourcing. The company reports companies from 33 states among its suppliers, including Oregon.

This seems like:

1.  A great way to revitalize shuttered RV factories and truck building factories throughout Oregon, creating hundreds of local jobs instead of jobs in South Carolina,

2.  A great way to introduce clean transit in various neighborhoods and campuses.  TriMet could EASILY integrate these vehicles on the shorter feeder routes where they return to a transit center and layover (allowing a recharge) before the next trip, as well as develop new routes that could feed mainline buses and MAX trains.  These vehicles would also be great for smaller transit agencies (think Canby Area Transit, Sandy Area Metro, SMART and YCTA) that run short city routes.


Al M said...

But that would require "imaginative" thinking for the bus side of things.

Capital projects has no interest in buses, it's too simple for them, no major construction jobs etc.

Steve Fung said...

Interesting post Erik.