Smelly, loud, gas-guzzling busses might not be around for much longer — not with all-electric busses that can drive for over one thousand miles on a single charge already on the road.
Electric bus maker Proterra claims that its heavy-duty, battery-powered Catalyst E2 max bus set a new world record for the longest distance traveled by an EV on a single charge. According to Proterra, the company’s e-bus drove for 1,101.2 miles at the Navistar Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Indiana — but so far only the company has confirmed the mileage.
Proterra says the new mark smashed the previous record of 1,013.76 miles by about 90 miles, on par with the total range of some budget EVs like GM’s E100. Even more impressive: the vehicle that set the previous record, the single-seat Schluckspecht-E, was 46 times lighter than the Catalyst E2 max, according to Proterra chief commercial officer Matt Horton.
The record-breaking bus isn’t available for transit authorities to purchase for long-haul routes just yet, though — commercial versions of the Catalyst E2 top out at an estimated range of about 350 miles per charge. However, Proterra CEO Ryan Popple told Forbes that the extended range bus is planned for sale in the future, saying that it will be built for “certain bus transit (projects) that require extremely long range.”
The company is also working with LG Chem to develop new battery cell tech specifically for larger vehicles, which could be invaluable for its heavy duty busses going forward.
Proterra isn’t just aiming to create long range electric busses — it’s aiming to develop autonomous tech, too. The company is slated to roll out self-driving electric busses in Nevada by 2019, and currently has a trial vehicle collecting road data on a fixed route in Reno.
Transit authorities in 20 U.S. states have bought Proterra’s busses, according to the company, so the next-gen mass transit tech is spreading. Once Proterra brings the extended range Catalyst E2 to the streets, electric busses could take over even more routes.