David Bennett is being honored as a Champion of Change for his time and effort developing innovative ways to help grow and expand the transportation industry.
Proterra is a quintessential American story. Our world-leading EcoRide™ 35 foot battery-electric fast-charge transit bus was designed and developed in the United States by Dale Hill, a bus industry veteran with an entrepreneur’s sensibility. Since its inception, Proterra has made strides that have taken transit bus technology from a platform mostly built in the 1950’s to a platform that today satisfies the environmental and efficiency goals that the U.S. Federal Transit Administration hoped to achieve in the year 2030. Think of it: the EcoRide achieves 23 miles per gallon diesel equivalent efficiency, carrying 68 passengers – five to six times greater than a diesel hybrid or CNG bus and potentially more efficient than the passenger car you drive today.
In fact, if the EcoRide replaced all 20,000 equivalent diesel and CNG buses in the US market, the US would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 870,000 tons per year in comparison to CNG powered buses (and more in comparison to diesel) as well as eliminating millions of gallons of foreign imports of oil for diesel fuel. Moreover, replacing diesel buses with the EcoRide eliminates emissions of carcinogens like benzene and particulate emissions in our urban communities, helping reduce cancer risk and lung diseases like asthma. In sum, the EcoRide delivers cost-effective, quiet, pollution free and affordable transportation to bus riders and their neighborhoods.
A tremendous amount of innovation has gone into the EcoRide, allowing us to create a bus that fully charges in under 10 minutes (try that with your cell phone) and results in a bus that is a one to one replacement for existing diesel and CNG buses. From the lightweight composite body sourced in South Carolina to drive train, energy storage and charging equipment sourced in California, Colorado, North Carolina, Nevada, Indiana and elsewhere, the EcoRide leads the industry with more than 80% American- made content.
I am honored to represent Proterra as its CEO and recognize that we were built by the contributions of so many, from the founder Dale Hill, to support from the Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, and the forward-looking transit agencies like Foothill Transit in West Covina, California, VIA Transit in San Antonio, Texas and Star Metro in Tallahassee, Florida and Seneca, South Carolina, which will become the first all-electric transit bus City in the United States. We greatly appreciate the assistance of our community of Greenville, South Carolina, and the State of South Carolina and South Carolina’s Congressional delegation – Senator Lindsey Graham in particular – all leading the “charge” to a better future for transit. Most importantly, our employees deserve recognition as true “Champions of Change,” working long hours under challenging conditions to bring innovation to market at unparalleled speed.
We have irreversibly changed mass transit by breaking down barriers through innovation – showing the industry that you can have a “green” zero-emission vehicle that is also cost-effective. There is now no turning back. Other bus manufacturers will either have to follow or be left behind, and the result will be the elimination of pollution, massive reduction of carbon emissions and quality of life improvements in urban areas across the globe.
David Bennett is CEO of Proterra