California Electric Bus Maker Proterra Unveils a New Battery Pack to Make it Easier to Electrify Combustion Engine Commercial Vehicles
While electric passenger vehicles get most of the attention boosted by the success of electric automaker Tesla, there is a huge market opportunity to electrify fleets of existing internal engine powered commercial vehicles by converting them to run on battery-power. One such company is California-based electric bus maker Proterra.
Founded in 2004, Proterra is helping cities to electrify their public transit and commercial fleets with cleaner and quieter battery-powered vehicles. The company is best known for building zero-emissions electric buses for cities looking to replace their noisy and highly polluting diesel engine-powered public transit or commercial vehicles. But Proterra also retrofits existing combustion engine powered vehicles.
As part of its "Porterra Powered" program for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, vehicle manufacturers can partner with Proterra to transform combustion engine commercial vehicles into high-performance, zero-emissions electric vehicles.
Today Proterra announced a new battery design that fits better into existing commercial vehicle frame rails to make it easier to convert commercial vehicles to run on batteries.
The company's new "H Series" batteries are made narrower and are designed to fit into many standard-size truck frame rails, the company said. Proterra will continue to produce its current modular S Series battery packs, which power Proterra's fleet of battery-electric transit buses.
The H and S Series battery packs each leverages their own uniquely sized module. Both of Proterra's battery modules are highly customizable, enabling vehicles to be built with multiple packs depending on a customer's needs.
"Our flexible battery platform enables energy and geometry 'right-sizing' to ensure our battery system meets the unique needs of each of our customers, including cost and range requirements," said Proterra Chief Technology Officer Dustin Grace.
The company's new H Series battery packs measure 620 mm wide and have the ability to hold 25-75 kWh of energy storage capacity the company said. While the Proterra S Series battery packs have a width of 860 mm and can contain up to 113 kWh of energy storage per pack.
The modules can be produced at four different voltage ratings, offering OEMs the flexibility to vary voltage and energy requirements to meet their individual needs. The battery packs utilize low cobalt, NCM 811 lithium-ion cylindrical cells.
"Proterra's safe, reliable battery technology has been proven in hundreds of vehicles that are on the road today. That's why world-class manufacturers are choosing Proterra to power their school buses, coach buses, delivery vans, and other electric vehicles. Now, we are excited to extend our best-in-class battery platform to help power even more commercial vehicles and accelerate the transition to clean, quiet transportation for all," said Proterra CEO and Chairman Jack Allen.
For cities looking to deploy more environmentally friendly electric vehicles as part of their fleets, Proterra's fully-electric vehicles are also a more affordable option in the long term, since EVs are less costly to maintain, requiring no engine, fuel system, cooling system or exhaust system maintenance like their diesel counterparts.
Proterra designed its batteries to offer maximum range, with a customizable design to fit within a variety of vehicles. The battery packs are built tough for commercial applications and are housed in a rugged commercial grade case to withstand harsh environments.
Proterra's battery systems are utilized in electric school buses, coach buses, delivery vans, and low-floor cutaway shuttle buses.
All Proterra batteries undergo rigorous testing under the toughest conditions, including extreme heat, cold, water submersion, vibration, and impact, Proterra said.
The company's "Proterra Powered" EV conversions leverage Proterra's electric vehicle technology and expertise to help commercial vehicle manufacturers electrify their vehicles. Proterra has worked with vehicle manufacturers Daimler and Van Hool to introduce fully-electric vehicles that provide clean, quiet transportation.
To date, Proterra Powered has helped world-class OEMs like Thomas Built Bus, best known for its familiar yellow school buses, as well as Belgium bus maker Van Hool to introduce 100% battery-electric vehicles that are powered by Proterra electric vehicle technology.
Proterra batteries feature patented passive and active safety features, including liquid thermal conditioning. In the rare event of a battery cell failure, any localized thermal event is completely isolated and will not spread to neighboring battery cells.
All Proterra batteries undergo rigorous testing to ensure they can withstand a full service life under the toughest conditions, including extreme heat, cold, water submersion, vibration, and impact, the company said.
Proterra's electric commerical vehicles have become one of the most popular EVs on the road in North America. In 2018, Proterra delivered more battery-electric buses in North America than any other manufacturer, including China's electric vehicle maker BYD, a company also building electric buses. To date, Proterra has provided hundreds of electric public transit buses to U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, as an alternative to highly polluting and noisy diesel-powered buses.
The company said it sold more than 950 electric buses to 120 communities across 43 U.S. states and Canadian provinces. Proterra also has plans to expand into zero-emissions electric school buses.
In 2017, Proterra claimed a world record for electric vehicle range when one of its Catalyst E2 all-electric buses traveled 1,101 miles on a test track on a single charge.
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