Detroit is the 100th customer of Proterra electric buses. The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) and Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) have infact decided to buy, totally, six 40-foot (12 meter) Proterra Catalyst E2 buses, as well as six Proterra 125 kW plug-in chargers and two 500 kW overhead fast-charge system.

To date Proterra says to have sold more than 800 buses across 41 US states and Canadian provinces and delivered more than 390 battery-electric buses. Proterra vehicles on the road have also achieved nearly ten million miles of service across North America.

In August 2019 the manufacturer launched the Proterra Powered project, a new initiative that see the Californian manufacturer ready to make its electric vehicle platform available for the needs of OEMs. The path is open to a new series of partnerships on the development of heavy duty commercial vehicles: for instance, the one with Van Hool, that at Busworld 2019 in Brussels will showcase an electric coach with Proterra batteries.

Detroit to have electric buses thanks to government grants

SMART and DDOT were awarded $2.6 million through the Low- or No-Emission Vehicle (Low-No) Program from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration for the electric buses and charging systems. The Proterra electric buses are the first electric buses for both organizations and the Proterra vehicles will replace aging diesel buses.

DDOT, that operates in the city of Detroit and neighboring cities, will receive two 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 Max buses, two Proterra 125 kW plug-in chargers and one 500 kW overhead fast-charge system.

On the other hand, SMART, in charge of suburban routes, will receive four 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 buses with DuoPower drivetrain technology (that features two electric motors delivering 510 horsepower), four Proterra 125 kW plug-in chargers and one 500 kW overhead fast-charge system.

DTE Energy to provide utility infrastructure for charging

An important player in the project of electric bus deployment in Detroit will be DTE Energy, that will work with SMART, DDOT and Proterra to provide the utility infrastructure necessary for charging the buses while on-route and at the respective terminals. Proterra and DTE Energy also recently announced a project to provide battery-electric school buses to Michigan schools for pupil transportation and to conduct a vehicle-to-grid pilot program.

A big step into the future for Michigan

“SMART has long been interested in adding alternative fuel buses to our fleet, and the all-electric bus project is a big step into the future for transit in southeast Michigan.” said John C. Hertel, General Manager, SMART. “Battery-electric buses not only help us meet our sustainability goals, but provide a better rider experience while delivering cost savings.”

“Electric buses are a great addition to our fleet and sustainability initiatives that will continue to improve the transit experience for our communities,” said Angelica Jones, Interim Director of DDOT. “It is a great example between the public, private sector and DTE to bring clean and efficient transportation to metro Detroit.”

“We’re excited to once again be working with Proterra to deliver the benefits of electric vehicle technology to Michigan,” said Sean Gouda, manager of DTE’s Electrification Business Development. “DTE Energy is a leader in clean energy initiatives, and we see transportation as a great opportunity to grow our sustainability efforts throughout the state. We commend DDOT and SMART for expanding clean transportation options in our region.”

“Proterra has reached an incredible milestone, bringing clean, quiet transportation to 100 customers across North America,” said Proterra CEO Ryan Popple. “From the vehicle design and battery technology to heavy-duty charging systems and energy solutions, Proterra has been a pioneer in electrifying the transit industry. More than any other form of transportation, battery-electric buses are the cornerstone in addressing the future of mobility and sustainability for cities, and we believe the most exciting EV developments are happening in the North American electric bus industry.”

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