Proterra opens electric vehicle fast-charge tech to transit industry

Posted on June 28, 2016

Photo: Proterra
Photo: Proterra
In a significant move intended to accelerate widespread EV technology adoption and infrastructure development, Proterra announced it would be opening its overhead on-route fast-charging technology to the transit industry on a royalty-free basis.

With the recent issuance of foundational patents covering this technology, Proterra is now clear to offer a complete technology package to the market. The company will grant anyone royalty-free access to its patents covering its industry leading single-blade overhead charging design. This includes the bus-mounted, single-blade charging design and the overhead-charging coupler.

Consistent with this, Proterra is working with its suppliers to open up Proterra's single-blade overhead charging design for direct sale to third parties. Industry-wide availability of the company's single-blade overhead charging design will advance standardization efforts and will facilitate additional innovation.

"As more and more electric buses operate on U.S. roads, it will be critical for the transit industry to have access to open technology platforms in order to effectively scale this technology and enhance the transit industry," said Lee Gibson, Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Nev. "With Proterra opening up its technology to other manufacturers, this will significantly benefit communities across the nation with this proven technology. Together they can move the industry forward."

Proterra single-blade charger design. Photo: Proterra
Proterra single-blade charger design. Photo: Proterra

Over the past five years, public transit agencies across the country have performed more than 250,000 charging events using the Proterra single-blade overhead fast-charge system, providing these agencies with the flexibility of keeping their buses on the road all-day, and seamlessly integrating electric buses with existing route schedules.

In order to meet the needs of transit operations, the single-blade vehicle coupling mechanism supports a charging voltage range of 250-1000 VDC, and can provide electrical current of up to 1400 amps, with safety taking the highest priority in these systems. Proterra's unique technology was specifically designed to limit exposure to high-voltage components, unlike catenary or third-rail solutions.

"We believe that everyone benefits from open platforms and greater customer choice," said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra. "We hope that this decision will encourage even more transit agencies to bring clean, quiet, emission-free vehicles to our city streets and community roadways."

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