Is the EV (electric vehicle) market growing or stalling? What about the electric bus market? There have been some big shakeups in the market in the past month. And with all the discussion surrounding this market, I thought it might be worth a look, especially if this could put the future of EV buses on hold here in South Carolina.
At the beginning of August, Proterra announced its intent to voluntarily file for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the District of Delaware in an effort to strengthen its financial position through recapitalization.
For those who may not know, Proterra is a company that designs and manufactures zero-emission electric transit vehicles and EV technology solutions for commercial applications, with products designed, engineered, and manufactured in America. You might recall we discussed in this very column about the EVs buses that took to the road in Richland and Greenville districts. The buses were 135-mile range, Proterra drive-train-equipped Thomas Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school buses.
The company first introduced its zero-emission, electric transit buses to the North American market in 2010. Today, the company’s battery technology powers more than 20 commercial vehicle applications spanning class 3 cargo vans through to Class 8 semi-trucks, as well as off-highway equipment in the construction and mining sectors. The company has also installed more than 100 megawatts of heavy-duty EV charging infrastructure to support commercial vehicle fleets across North America.
While the company has a vision to help reach decarbonization goals, Gareth Joyce, Proterra CEO says the company has faced various market and macroeconomic headwinds that have impacted the ability to efficiently scale all of the opportunities simultaneously.
Proterra says it intends to continue to operate in the ordinary course of business, as it moves through this process and plans to file the customary motions with the bankruptcy court. This includes paying employee salaries and benefits and compensating vendors and suppliers.
Loren McDonald, CEO of EVAdoption, says, “The electric bus market is not growing quickly and is 100% dependent on grants. Proterra had already pivoted away from its focus as an electric bus maker to that of a platform company selling electric powertrains, batteries, and charging solutions to other companies and beyond just buses for the transit market. Proterra should survive, I believe. This is just a financial restructuring to set it up for future successes.”
Still, this has me wondering about whether something like this might happen for others and what this means for niche EV markets in the days ahead. It is certainly something to watch.
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