Electric bus maker lands investment from BMW – USA TODAY
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Electric bus manufacturer Proterra has closed on a $55 million investment joined by BMW Group’s corporate venture capital team BMW i Ventures.
Proterra said the multimillion-dollar investment will go toward increased production at its manufacturing facilities in South Carolina and Los Angeles, as well as future research and development initiatives at the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.
Proterra moved the company’s headquarters from Greenville to California last year to be part of the tech scene in Silicon Valley.
“This is an extremely exciting time at Proterra as our customers, supporters and investors – new and old alike – rally behind our vision for a clean, electric transportation ecosystem,” Ryan Popple, Proterra’s CEO, said in a statement. “We’re incredibly grateful to our new investors, and are proud to call them partners as we strive to eliminate fossil fuel dependence throughout the transit industry.”
Earlier this year, Proterra stated plans to triple production in Greenville in 2017, thanks to a $140 million investment.
The investment, reported in January, was said to be used to help increase the facility’s 165-person workforce to add 25 more jobs, Eric McCarthy, vice president of government relations at Proterra, said.
In Greenville, Proterra in 2016 produced a few more than 30 buses, but plans to manufacture more than 90 this year. The company has sold more than 400 vehicles to cities that include Nashville, Seattle and Philadelphia.
Proterra said BMW i Venture’s investment in the company is the first, and the company will work closely with Generation Investment Management LLP, the lead firm, and BMW i Ventures to help communities transition to zero-emission mobility fleets.
“More than ever before, cities are looking for sustainable transportation solutions that can reduce pollution efficiently and effectively,” former Vice President and Generation’s Chairman Al Gore said in a release. “Proterra is incredibly well positioned to help accelerate the growth of sustainable cities and continue our transition to a clean energy economy.”
Zach Barasz, partner at BMW i Ventures, said in a statement the team invests in companies that will transform mobility and transportation.
“And Proterra is pushing the transit industry forward with the most innovative heavy-duty electric bus,” he said. “Due to Proterra’s efforts, electric mass transit is overtaking fossil-fuel buses as the new standard.”