Greenville bus maker Proterra is providing electric buses to the city of Seneca. The town got a multi-million dollar Federal Transportation Administration grant to become the first all-electric city fleet in the U.S.
Seneca City Administrator Greg Dietterick says the Federal Transportation Administration grant allows them to replace their diesel buses. “Even though we are a rural transit authority and a small fleet, to be the first at anything is a great accomplishment. We are going to be totally electric and remove that carbon footprint, be user-friendly, be a green bus system, ” Dietterick says.
And they will save some green too, with the buses and charging stations covered by a TIGGER (Transit Investments in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction) grant from the FTA for approximately $4.1 million. A combination of private, state and local public funds covers the rest. The transit authority will also save up to $40,000 in yearly diesel costs per bus.
For Upstate manufacturer Proterra, CEO David Bennett says this sale helps his company gain a better foothold in the market.
“This will be our largest firm order, once it’s awarded. We’ve got three other customers but this will be the largest single order we have. It will for us create jobs in the immediate term. We have staffed from about 40 people to 100 and now going to about 130 by the end of this year,” Bennett says.
After a slow start in the past year, Proterra signed agreements to receive some $30 million from new investors in the spring of this year and needed a working model of how such a system can work.
“This gives us, right in our home state, an opportunity to showcase to customers and actually train customers on the vehicles, and also show integration of electric buses and electric vehicles with a public transportation system and the power company,” Bennet explains.
AUDIO: Bennett talks about next steps for adopting electric bus technology
The fleet, working under the Clemson Area Transit System, will serve the area and run to four universities nearby.