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Proterra, which makes big honkin' battery systems and electric buses, raises $200 million

Jonathan Shieber
·2-min read
The Proterra Catalyst E2 is capable of serving the full daily mileage needs of nearly every U.S. mass transit route on a single charge and offers the transit industry the first direct replacement for fossil-fueled transit vehicles. (PRNewsFoto/Proterra)
The Proterra Catalyst E2 is capable of serving the full daily mileage needs of nearly every U.S. mass transit route on a single charge and offers the transit industry the first direct replacement for fossil-fueled transit vehicles. (PRNewsFoto/Proterra)

Proterra, the battery system technology developer for heavy-duty electric vehicles, said it has raised $200 million in a new round of funding.

The new cash comes from Cowen Sustainable Investment Advisors, which led the round, along with money from Soros Fund Management, Generation Investment Management and Broadscale Group.

Cowen took the bulk of the round, with $150 million, while Soros, Generation and Broadscale forked over the other $50 million.

This new capital infusion follows a year's worth of speculation about a potential public offering for the big honkin' battery systems developer. TechCrunch last reported in August 2019 that Proterra had hit a $1 billion valuation according to investors and would be seeking a potential IPO at the time.

The company said the new money would go to support the company's ongoing research and development efforts into battery and electric drivetrain technologies and business development to increase the company's footprint in additional commercial vehicle segments.

Proterra's also looking at charging and energy management technology development to lower fleet management costs associated with operating electric fleets.

To date, Proterra has raised equity and debt totaling at least roughly $1 billion from investors including G2VP, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Constellation Ventures, Mitsui & Co., as well as BMW i Ventures, Edison Energy, the Federal Transportation Administration, General Motors’s venture arm and Tao Capital Partners .

Proterra mainly makes buses for local, state and federal agencies that can travel 350 miles on a single charge. The Burlingame, California company, which has a number of former Tesla employees in leadership positions, including the company's former chief executive Ryan Popple, has also diversified its business to provide its power trains to other heavy and medium-duty commercial electric vehicle manufacturers.

The company is now working with OEMs like Thomas Built Buses, Van Hool, FCCC, BusTech and Optimal-EV to bring to market 100% battery-electric vehicles powered by its technology, the company said in a statement.

“As demand grows for battery-electric vehicles and 100% zero-emission fleets, we are excited to collaborate with CSI as well as our other investors to accelerate the transition to clean, quiet transportation for all and deliver even more Proterra Powered vehicles around the world,” said Jack Allen, Proterra's current chairman and chief executive.

BofA Securities acted as sole placement agent on this transaction.