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IN A MA­JOR AN­NOUNCE­MENT that should af­fect elec­tric and au­to­mated bus and truck pro­duc­tion and drive­abil­ity glob­ally, Daim­ler has en­tered into a new part­ner­ship with North Amer­i­can elec­tric-bus pow­er­house Proterra Inc., it was an­nounced at the 2018 67th IAA Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles show in Han­nover, Ger­many.

The deal is re­ported to be worth up to USD$155 mil­lion from in­vestors Daim­ler, Tao Cap­i­tal Part­ners G2VP and oth­ers.

In an in­vest­ment move said to un­der­score com­mit­ment to elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, Daim­ler Board mem­ber and head of its Trucks and Buses di­vi­sions, Martin Daum, said: “We started work­ing on elec­tric trucks and buses at a very early stage and we aim to set the stan­dards here in each rel­e­vant seg­ment.

“We ex­pect the co­op­er­a­tion with Proterra to de­liver ad­di­tional im­pe­tus for the de­vel­op­ment of heavy-duty com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles with elec­tric drive. In this way, we are broad­en­ing our scope in par­tic­u­lar con­cern­ing the key tech­nol­ogy of the bat­tery – also with re­gard to North Amer­ica,” he added.

In con­junc­tion with the in­vest­ment, Proterra and Daim­ler have en­tered into an agree­ment to ex­plore the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of se­lect Daim­ler heavy-duty ve­hi­cles. The first of these ef­forts will be to ex­plore po­ten­tial syn­er­gies with Daim­ler’s Thomas Built Buses di­vi­sion by bring­ing Proterra’s proven bat­tery and drive train tech­nolo­gies to the North Amer­i­can school bus mar­ket, the next fron­tier for zero-emis­sion, com­mer­cial fleets, it says.

Sim­i­lar to pub­lic tran­sit ve­hi­cles, school buses pro­vide mis­sion-crit­i­cal com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture and of­fer an ex­cel­lent use case for ve­hi­cle elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, as most school buses travel a pre­dictable dis­tance per day that is well within the ca­pa­bil­ity of Proterra’s EV tech­nol­ogy, says Daim­ler.

Ryan Pop­ple, Proterra CEO said: “We are ex­cited to col­lab­o­rate with Daim­ler, and we ap­pre­ci­ate their in­vest­ment and sup­port. Daim­ler is a global leader in ve­hi­cles that serve al­most every cat­e­gory and mar­ket. Over the past year, we’ve gained a great deal of re­spect for the engi­neer­ing prow­ess, op­er­a­tional ex­per­tise, and en­vi­ron­men­tal ste­ward­ship of the Daim­ler team.”

Nick Pritzker, Chair­man of Tao Cap­i­tal

Part­ners said: “We have made sev­eral in­vest­ments in dis­rup­tive trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies and be­lieve elec­tric ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy is the fu­ture of mass tran­sit fleets. We at Tao are proud to sup­port Proterra in its mis­sion to bring forth a clean, elec­tric trans­porta­tion ecosys­tem.”


The new, all-elec­tric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro also had its trade-fair pre­miere at the IAA. The new city bus achieves un­prece­dented en­ergy ef­fi­ciency thanks to its in­no­va­tive ther­mal man­age­ment, the com­pany says.

With a bat­tery ca­pac­ity of 243kWh and space for up to 88 pas­sen­gers, the eCitaro is al­ready the ideal ve­hi­cle for a con­sid­er­able pro­por­tion of the op­er­a­tions un­der­taken by city buses to­day, says Daim­ler.

In just a few years, it will be able to com­pletely re­place the com­bus­tion en­gine with unique bat­tery tech­nol­ogy and fuel cells as a range ex­ten­der, it states.

The new eCitaro is an in­te­gral part of the eMo­bil­ity sys­tem at Daim­ler Buses. This eMo­bil­ity sys­tem sup­ports trans­port op­er­a­tors with ev­ery­thing from in-depth ad­vice, an in­tel­li­gent charg­ing man­age­ment sys­tem and the train­ing of their em­ploy­ees through to the pro­vi­sion of spe­cific ser­vices, the com­pany says.

Ac­cord­ing to Daim­ler, even be­fore the ve­hi­cle goes into se­ries pro­duc­tion this (Euro­pean) au­tumn, or­ders have been re­ceived for sev­eral dozen eCitaro buses from cus­tomers in Ger­many and abroad, in­clud­ing Ber­liner Verkehrs­be­triebe, Rhein-Neckar Verkehrsver­bund, Ham­burger Hochbahn and cus­tomers in Nor­way.

Above:The new Proterra deal is re­ported to be worth up to USD$155 mil­lion from in­vestors Daim­ler, Tao Cap­i­tal Part­ners G2VP and oth­ers.

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