The future of buses is looking driverless, emissions-free, and electric. Earlier this month, Silicon Valley electric bus manufacturer Proterra scored a new world record for longest distance driven on a single charge.
The company’s commercially-available Catalyst E2 Max bus—which is 40 feet long, 18 tons in weight, and comprises four underfloor battery packs supplemented by two rooftop packs—ran a total of 1,101.2 miles at Indiana’s Navistar Proving Grounds, besting the previous electric bus distance record by 468 miles and the overall EV distance record by about 90 miles.
This feat means the company, which recently started manufacturing its buses in a new L.A. factory, will now focus on getting the price of these buses down to a point where cities can actually afford them.
“Heavy-duty electric transit vehicles now have the capabilities they need. We will be turning our focus even more so to driving the cost down,” Matt Horton, the chief commercial officer at Proterra, tells Reuters. Traditional diesel buses currently cost about $500,000 a piece, while a typical Proterra bus costs about $750,000 each. However, Proterra predicts that its electric buses will cost less than diesels by 2025—not to mention annual fuel and maintenance costs cities would save with EV fleets.
The Proterra has sold 400 buses stateside so far—190 in just the last year. The company claims it’s “entered negotiations with at least half of North America’s transit agencies,” according to Quartz. With countries around the world announcing imminent bans on gas and diesel vehicles, that’s not too hard to believe.