Proterra Catalyst E2 MAX Sets World Record And Drives 1,101.2 Miles On A Single Charge
Comment of the Day

September 20 2017

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Proterra Catalyst E2 MAX Sets World Record And Drives 1,101.2 Miles On A Single Charge

This press release contains some impressive statistics and may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

Today Proterra, the leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation, announced it has set a world record for driving the longest distance ever traveled by an electric vehicle on a single charge at the Navistar Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Indiana. Proterra’s 40-foot Catalyst E2 max traveled 1,101.2 miles this month with 660 kWh of energy storage capacity. For the last three consecutive years, Proterra has demonstrated improved range and battery performance. Last September, Proterra drove 603 miles with 440kWh of energy storage, and in 2015, Proterra drove 258 miles with 257kWh of energy storage on a single charge. This year’s world record range marks exceptional performance improvements over prior years, and underscores Proterra’s commitment to innovation and accelerating the mass adoption of heavy-duty electric vehicles.

“For our heavy-duty electric bus to break the previous world record of 1,013.76 miles — which was set by a light-duty passenger EV 46 times lighter than the Catalyst E2 max — is a major feat,” said Matt Horton, Proterra’s chief commercial officer. “This record achievement is a testament to Proterra’s purpose-built electric bus design, energy-dense batteries and efficient drivetrain.”

Beyond meeting transit agencies’ range requirements, the Catalyst E2 max is poised to make a significant impact on the transit market because of its low operational cost per mile compared to conventional fossil fuel powered buses. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, lithium-ion battery prices have dropped by roughly 72 percent since 2010, and the economics for batteries continue to improve. Between li-ion battery cost savings and improving vehicle efficiency, electric vehicles represent the most disruptive mode of transport today.

“Driven by the best cost savings-per-mile, we believe the business case for heavy-duty electric buses is superior to all other applications, and that the transit market will be the first to transition completely to battery-electric powered vehicles,” said Ryan Popple, Proterra CEO. “Early electric bus adopters like our first customer, Foothill Transit, have paved the way for future heavy-duty applications, like motor coaches and commercial trucks. As we see incumbents and more companies enter the heavy-duty EV market, it has become very apparent that the future is all-electric, and the sun is setting on combustion engine technology.”

Eoin Treacy's view

One of the primary arguments often trotted out to combat ambitious forecasts about the future of long haul and large passenger vehicles is the battery would have to be so large and heavy as to make the endeavor untenable. 

The E2 Max Gross Vehicle Weight is 39050lbs. Generally speaking, a typical city bus weighs 34000lbs so their electric vehicle is definitely heavier but not onerously so. Continued improvements in energy density and manufacturing efficiencies are contributing to improved viability for large scale electric vehicles. 

Tesla hit a new high today and while some consolidation is possible, a sustained move below $300 would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside. 

BYD is benefitting from heightened speculation the electric vehicle sector will receive more support from Chinese regulations. The share broke out of a more than three-year range this week and a sustained move below HK$60 would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside. 

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