Daimler has many different heavy-duty electric vehicle efforts, including electric buses, but now the Germany automaker is also investing in U.S. electric bus maker Proterra.
The startup has secured a new massive $155 million round of investment.
The company has been accumulating orders over the past two years and it is increasingly putting more electric buses on the road after raising close to $200 million in order to expand production.
Proterra is again securing a large investment. This time co-led by Daimler. Tao Capital Partners is the other co-lead and G2VP and other technology investors also participated.
Along with the investment, Daimler and Proterra also signed an agreement to “explore the electrification of select Daimler heavy-duty vehicles.”
Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler, made the announcement at the 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover:
“We started working on electric trucks and buses at a very early stage and we aim to set the standards here in each relevant segment. We expect the cooperation with Proterra to deliver additional impetus for the development of heavy-duty commercial vehicles with electric drive. In this way, we are broadening our scope in particular concerning the key technology of the battery – also with regard to North America.”
Ryan Popple, Proterra CEO, added:
“We are excited to collaborate with Daimler, and we appreciate their investment and support. Daimler is a global leader in vehicles that serve almost every category and market. Over the past year, we’ve gained a great deal of respect for the engineering prowess, operational expertise, and environmental stewardship of the Daimler team. We also appreciate the continued support of our existing investors who share our vision of clean, quiet transportation for all.”
Last year, Popple said that electric buses are now cheaper than diesel/CNG and could dominate the market within 10 years.
Around the same time, Proterra also hired Tesla’s former Vice President of Manufacturing to lead a production expansion at their facility in Greenville, South Carolina, and their new factory in Los Angeles County in order to satisfy the increasing demand.
This is excellent news. Daimler is very serious about electrifying its commercial vehicles, except for the long-range ones, but Proterra is making some great progress on that front.
The company unveiled the Proterra Catalyst DuoPower drivetrain last year and achieved a record 1,100-mile trip on a single charge with the bus.
Earlier this year, Proterra also put its all-electric dual motor bus to a tough test on Utah’s steepest roads with good results.
With Proterra’s experience with long-range buses and Daimler’s experience in manufacturing, as well as their deep pockets, I can see great things happening here in electrification.