Proterra sells electric buses to Washington, D.C., public transit system

Proterra’s electric buses will serve Washington, D.C., tourists, locals and policymakers who make mass transit decisions.

Electric buses from California-based Proterra are beginning to appear in the nation’s capital.

The Washington, D.C., Circulator transit district, which serves mainly tourists visiting Smithsonian Institution museums and other sites, bought 14 of the Proterra buses and began rolling them out earlier this month. No exact price was given, but such vehicles range from $700,000 to $900,000 each.

Proterra, based in Burlingame in Northern California, turns out vehicles at a plant in the City of Industry and in Greenville, S.C., where the D.C. buses were built.

Ryan Popple, Proterra’s chief executive, said in a prepared statement that “Washington D.C. is the perfect place to show citizens from across the country and the world that our technology not only reduces emissions, but also fundamentally improves the rider experience.”


He did not mention that the district is also the perfect place to show off the technology to politicians, lobbyists and bureaucrats who help determine mass transit policy across the United States.

The Los Angeles area has become an electric bus building center in part because of the manufacturing talent developed by the aerospace industry. BYD, a China-based company, operates an electric bus factory in Lancaster.

Proterra said it has sold 546 buses in 30 states. BYD claims it has sold 722. Both seek to replace diesel, gasoline and other greenhouse-gas emitting powertrains.

BYD recently announced the Anteater Express shuttle bus fleet at UC Irvine will be converted from 29 diesel buses to 20 BYD buses. The deal was brokered by the university’s student government, paid for out of student fees.


Twitter: @russ1mitchell

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