Electric Bus Maker Wades Deeper Into the Charging Business

(Bloomberg) -- Proterra Inc., a Silicon Valley maker of electric buses, is offering new high-powered charging systems as it seeks to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

Proterra’s chargers are specifically designed for commercial fleets, meet industrywide standards and can let buses send energy back to the grid when needed, the Burlingame, California-based company said Monday in a statement.

Growing demand for electric vehicles has also spurred interest in developing charging infrastructure to support them, according to Proterra Chief Executive Officer Ryan Popple.

“You can’t just build electric vehicles and drop them off with the customer and expect them to solve the other side of it, which is charging,” Popple said. “We found customer needs that weren’t met by existing equipment.”

Proterra introduced the systems -- which include a 500-kilowatt high-speed charger that can deliver in 10 minutes enough power for a vehicle to go 38 miles (61 kilometers) -- at the American Public Transportation Association’s Bus & Paratransit Conference in Tampa, Florida.

Battery-powered buses have the potential to revolutionize city transport while reshaping the energy industry. Almost half of the city buses on the road worldwide will be electric by 2025, with most of them in China, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In the U.S., cities including Los Angeles and New York have set targets to convert to all electric bus fleets in the coming decades.

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