Electric Buses Plug In to US Market with New Models, More Bucks

Electric Buses Plug In to US Market with New Models, More Bucks

Image courtesy of Hertz.

There's a saying in journalism that it takes three examples to make a trend story. So when we saw three simultaneous news items about electric buses cross our screens this morning, it was a given we'd look into it. Whether this is just a strange coincidence or beginning of a longer-term trend remains to be seen, but here's a look at what's about to hit the streets.

First, you may have heard that BYD, a China-based, Warren Buffet-backed player in the EV and solar energy markets, made its North American arrival with a new headquarters based in Los Angeles.

The new headquarters will support BYD dealerships throughout the continent that sell several products, including BYD's dual-mode electric and e6 pure electric vehicles, all-electric long-range eBUS commercial buses, rapid charging stations, home solar systems and LED and solar energy systems for streets and parking lots.

BYD, which stands for "Build Your Dreams," also announced that it would supply Hertz Car Rentals' Los Angeles Airport (LAX) facility with an eBUS-12 to shuttle rental customers between its facility and the terminal. The all-electric bus can drive 155 miles on one charge and may generate lifetime savings up to $500,000," Richard Broome, Hertz's senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Smith Electric Vehicles lifted the veil on an all-electric school bus called the Newton eTrans that will be available for delivery early next year. Smith Electric Vehicles' partner for the eTrans is school bus manufacturer Trans Tech Bus.

The 42-seat vehicle can drive 120 miles on one charge, with a top speed of 50 miles per hour. The model is said to operate at one-third to one-half the cost of its traditional diesel counterpart.

Finally, electric transit vehicle firm Proterra revealed today it has scooped up $15 million in financing from Silicon Valley Bank to help fund existing orders and pursue new sales. Just a few months ago, Proterra announced $30 million in new investment funding, including $6 million from GM.

Proterra's flagship product is EcoRide, a battery-powered electric bus that can charge in as little as 10 minutes. The vehicles are already operating in Pomona, Calif.


But in a sign of its business picking up steam, Proterra also recently penned a deal to supply Tallahassee, Fla.'s transit provider with three EcoRide models. The zero-emissions buses may also hit the roads of Fresno, Calif., San Antonio, Texas, Seattle, Wash., Chicago, and Reno, Nev.

Main image provided by Hertz. Inline image courtesy of Proterra.