The manufacturer claims that's a world record
It’s been a long time since we’ve written about electric bus manufacturer Proterra. Back in 2011, General Motors invested $30 million USD in the startup from South Carolina. At the time, Proterra’s EcoRide BE-35 model could hit an 80-percent charge in only 10 minutes, giving it a 40-mile (64-km) range. But the latest bus from Proterra has a drastically longer range—to the tune of 1,100 miles (1,770 km).
This week, Proterra announced that the Catalyst E2 Max electric bus traveled 1,101.2 miles (1,772 km) on a single charge at the Navistar Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Indiana. That’s reportedly long enough to set a world record for the longest distance traveled by an electric vehicle on a single charge.
“For our heavy-duty electric bus to break the previous world record of 1,013.76 miles (1,631 km)—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.”
Compared to the Chevrolet Bolt’s 238-mile (383-km) EPA range and the Tesla Model S 100D’s EPA range of 335 miles (539 km), the Proterra Catalyst E2 Max’s range looks absolutely bonkers. Then again, it has a massive 660-kWh battery, so you’d expect it to go pretty dang far on a charge.
Proterra says the Catalyst E2 Max seats 40, has a top speed of 65 mph (105 km/h), and can recharge in less than five hours. If it were a regular passenger vehicle like the Bolt or the Model S, that recharge time would probably be way too much, but considering that buses are parked overnight, that shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, even when loaded down with people and their belongings, a 1,100-mile (1,770-km) range should be enough to avoid running out of electricity during the day. Even better, the running costs are said to be far lower than a fossil fuel-powered bus.
So will your city’s new buses all be battery electric? It’s possible. But even if the concept of an all-electric bus takes a little while to catch on, it’s still impressive that Proterra was able to build any type of vehicle that can travel so far on a single charge.