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Proterra Powered™ Electric School Buses Selected by Michigan Schools

| September 13, 2019

Michigan becomes first in nation to dedicate VW settlement funds to electric school buses

Proterra, a leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation, announced that the Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner® C2 Jouley electric school bus powered by Proterra® electric vehicle technology and the Proterra 60kW charging system were selected by Ann Arbor and Roseville public schools in Michigan for a five-year pilot program, in partnership with DTE Energy and Hoekstra Transportation. The pilot program, supported by VW settlement funds, will include pupil transportation and a vehicle-to-grid study. Michigan is the first state in the U.S. to dedicate the entirety of its first round of VW settlement funding to support transitioning their schools’ bus fleets to clean, quiet all-electric school buses. 

DTE Energy evaluated several electric vehicle technologies and selected the Proterra Powered™ electric school bus and Proterra charging system. Proterra is a leader in the electric transit bus market, and Proterra Catalyst® buses have driven more than 9 million service miles, powered by the same battery system and drivetrain technology that is featured in the Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school buses.

“Safety and reliability are core values of DTE, and the integrated safety of Thomas Built Buses along with the proven battery and charging technology from Proterra just made sense for this program,” said Sean Gouda, Manager of Business Development, DTE Energy. “This product will allow us to study specific charging behaviors and vehicle-to-grid capabilities, which are important for utilities to fully understand as we embark on the evolution of electric vehicles powered by smart grids.”

DTE Energy, in partnership with the schools, will conduct a vehicle-to-grid study to allow the utility to better understand how electric school buses can support energy storage needs in addition to scheduled pupil transportation. Proterra is the only company in the school bus industry that has in-house engineering expertise for the design and manufacture of both battery technology and chargers. The utility-preferred Proterra 60kW DC fast charger is optimized for bi-directional power flow, with inverters integrated into the charger rather than on the bus.

Ann Arbor Public Schools will receive four buses and Roseville Community Schools will receive two buses along with Proterra chargers for both schools. Ann Arbor and Roseville will share their findings on pupil transportation with the electric school buses with the Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation. Both schools plan to use the buses as learning laboratories for real-world applications of new innovations, such as the zero-emission electric technologies the buses employ, as part of their focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). 

Proterra and Thomas Built Buses offer schools the only comprehensive, interoperable, turn-key electric vehicle program that includes electric school buses, charging infrastructure and energy delivery solutions. The Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley couples 220 kWh of total energy capacity, the highest battery capacity in the industry, with the Proterra drivetrain to offer unparalleled energy efficiency and range to meet the needs of school bus fleets. Additionally, the Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school bus can fast charge in about three hours with the Proterra DC charging system.

“Our experience deploying electric vehicle technology for heavy-duty applications such as transit buses has helped us advanced the same EV battery systems and drivetrain for electric school buses,” said Proterra CEO Ryan Popple. “We are excited to bring our technology and experience to the school bus market and deliver the benefits of zero emission transportation to Michigan’s children. Together with Thomas Built Buses and DTE Energy, we are designing and engineering products that prioritize safety and durability while delivering clean, quiet transportation.” 

Category: Electric Vehicles, Featured, General Update, Green, News, Transit News

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