Proterra brings first electric buses to Idaho with Valley Regional Transit

Oct. 24, 2019
The Valley Regional Transit agrees to purchase eight Proterra Catalyst vehicles and charging systems.

The Valley Regional Transit (VRT) will purchase eight Proterra Catalyst 35-foot E2 buses and eight 125 kW plug-in charging systems, according to an announcement from Proterra.

VRT is Proterra’s first customer in Idaho and the first transit agency in Idaho to bring electric buses to its community. Proterra vehicles are now in 42 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, with buses operating in diverse climates and terrains from coast to coast.

VRT received funding for the new electric buses through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No Emission Program Grants. VRT will transition about one-fourth of its fleet to battery-electric buses with the purchase of eight buses and charging systems.

VRT manages contracts for the operation of ValleyRide bus services and ACCESS paratransit service. ValleyRide bus services consist of 18 fixed-line routes in Boise/Garden City, three fixed-line routes in Nampa/Caldwell and four intercounty routes between Ada County and Canyon County.

“Valley Regional Transit is dedicated to delivering exceptional service to its citizens and supporting livable, healthy and sustainable communities,” said VRT Executive Director Kelli Badesheim. “Electric buses help us meet these goals. Battery-electric buses are better for the environment and offer a better rider experience for our community, and we’re excited to be working with Proterra to bring the first electric buses to Idaho.”

VRT will lease their bus batteries through Proterra. As a result of the battery lease, the initial capital cost for the electric bus will be similar to a diesel or compressed natural gas (CNG) bus, and VRT will be able to utilize the operating funds previously earmarked for fuel to pay for the battery lease. Additionally, under the battery lease Proterra will provide 12 years of warranty for battery performance and capacity, which matches the expected life of the buses and decreases operator risk. The performance warranty also includes a requirement for Proterra to install new batteries on the buses at mid-life to help ensure the batteries always have plenty of energy to meet their route needs and hedge against future replacement battery costs.

“By lowering the upfront costs of electric buses to be competitively priced against diesel, battery leasing removes one of the biggest barriers to adoption and empowers transit agencies to adopt and deploy larger EV fleets,” said Proterra CEO Ryan Popple. “We believe our relentless focus on vehicle innovation and pioneering finance models have helped make Proterra Catalyst vehicles the most popular electric buses in North America.”

The new Proterra electric buses will replace aging diesel and CNG buses. Proterra Catalyst vehicles are designed to be electric from the ground up and offer performance with nearly twice the horsepower of a standard diesel bus and five times better fuel efficiency, according to the company.