New electric bus runs 1,100 miles on a single charge

September 22, 2017

A Silicon Valley mass-transit vehicle builder claims it has set a world distance record for an electric vehicle on a single charge — with a 40 foot city bus. Proterra's Catalyst E2 max covered 1,102.2 miles at a testing facility in Indiana, a distance verified by an independent third party company.

The new record is nearly 90 miles further than the previous record, also held by Proterra.

The bus is powered by a 660 kWh battery, which while physically large, has no problem fitting in a bus engineered with an electric drivetrain in mind. At over 39,000 pounds, Catalyst E2 max is Proterra’s largest offering, can seat up to 40 passengers, and reach a top speed of 65 miles per hour. Using a 120 kW charger, it can achieve a full charge in under five hours, according to the company.

The 1,102.2 mile range, while technically possible, is not the norm, however. In normal operating conditions, Proterra expects the range of the E2 max to come in at around 350 miles.

To date, Proterra has sold over 400 vehicles to more than three dozen transportation agencies in 20 states. Earlier this month, the company announced a deal with New York MTA, which will lease five of the large electric buses as part of a feasibility study.

The company has substantial backing from investment arms of major firms, including BMW’s i Ventures and Generation Investment Management, a $17b fund management company founded by Al Gore.

In addition to the new electric distance record, Proterra  just announced a new battery cell co-developed with LG Chem, LG’s lithium battery producer that supplies EV batteries for the likes of Ford and General Motors. It’s built with “ballistic-grade materials” to enable it to hold up under the harshest realistic conditions.

The company hasn’t yet set when the new battery will go into production or appear on a bus.

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