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Bankrupt, Biden-Backed EV Bus Maker Leaves Broken Buses Across the Nation

Proterra's bankruptcy leaves a trail of broken electric buses, challenging Biden's vision for eco-friendly public transit.

In recent years, towns and cities across the United States embraced the vision of eco-friendly public transit systems, and many turned to Silicon Valley-based Proterra for electric buses. However, what seemed like a promising venture has spiraled into chaos as Proterra declared bankruptcy in August, leaving a wake of broken and irreparable buses across the nation.

Problems with Proterra’s buses emerged early on, with customers, including the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, reporting issues such as shorter-than-promised ranges and performance challenges, especially in cold weather. Despite these concerns, the company gained substantial attention and financial backing, with President Joe Biden himself lauding Proterra during a virtual tour in April 2021, touting the company as one that “makes me look good.”

Problems escalated as communities that invested in Proterra buses found themselves grappling with inoperable vehicles. The recent conclusion of Proterra’s bankruptcy auctions did little to alleviate the situation, as public transit systems struggle to obtain the necessary parts for repairs, citing delays and slow responses from the now-bankrupt company.

Critics argue that Proterra’s rise and fall exemplify the essence of crony capitalism. The company benefited from significant government support, including grants and tax credits, with ties reaching the highest levels of the Biden administration. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who served on Proterra’s board, sold her Proterra holdings before taking office, realizing net capital gains of $1.6 million.

As communities grapple with the fallout of Proterra’s bankruptcy, some, like the San Joaquin Regional Transit District in California, face challenges not only with broken buses, but also with faulty charging infrastructure. Proterra’s lack of a valid California business license to complete work on chargers adds to the complications, leaving transit agencies dependent on the now-defunct company for repairs.

The widespread issues with Proterra buses extend beyond their bankruptcy, dating back to well before their financial collapse. Various reports highlight cracked chassis, performance failures on steep hills, and unfulfilled promises regarding mileage on a single charge. Public transit systems in cities like Philadelphia, Duluth, Edmonton (Canada), and Colorado Springs find themselves burdened with non-operational Proterra buses, waiting for replacement parts that are often on months-long backorder.

Despite President Biden’s ambitious plans to transition to electric vehicles, the Proterra saga raises questions about the viability of such initiatives and the wisdom of allocating significant government funding to politically-connected companies. Energy writer and analyst David Blackmon warns that Proterra’s case might not be an isolated incident, and similar government-funded projects could lead to more disappointments.

As the Biden administration continues to push for green initiatives and unprecedented government funding for electric vehicles, the Proterra debacle serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the need for careful scrutiny and accountability.

American Coalition

American Coalition

The American Coalition operates as a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, as amended, created by Americans who have tired of the ever-growing assault on the foundation of our entire way of life.