The electric buses from Proterra keep going from strength to strength. We first heard of its vehicles in 2015, when its Catalyst XR logged more than 250 mi (402 km) on a single charge. Less than two years have passed, and the company is now reporting its 40-ft (12-m) Catalyst E2 max has managed a run of 1,101.2 mi (1,772 km), which is a record-breaking drive for any electric vehicle.
Proterra followed up its 2015 effort with a 600 mi (966 km) run last year, completed by its Catalyst E2 electric bus. While these kinds of distances are unlikely to be achieved in regular day-to-day driving, Proterra hopes the Catalyst E2 max will be capable of covering most daily American mass transit routes on a single charge. The bus has an energy storage capacity of 660 kWh and a claimed nominal range of 194 to 350 mi (312 to 563 km).
But that doesn't mean it can't flex its muscles in the meantime. The company today showed off its performance improvements by announcing that the bus traveled the record-breaking distance at the Navistar Proving Ground in New Carlisle, Indiana, outstripping the previous record of 1,013.76 mi (1,631.5 km) for an electric vehicle.
But what is even more more impressive is the difference between those two record-setting vehicles. The previous holder was the "Schluckspecht E" electric vehicle, a lightweight single-passenger car built specifically to take an aerodynamic shape. The Catalyst E2 is obviously much less aerodynamic, and Proterra says it is 46 times heavier than the vehicle built by a team at the University of Applied Sciences in Offenberg, Germany.
Proterra is also exploring the Catalyst E2's self-driving capabilities, teaming up with the Nevada authorities earlier in the year to kick off trials exploring how it could play a role in autonomous, greener mass transit systems.
"As we see incumbents and more companies enter the heavy-duty EV market, it has become very apparent that the future is all-electric, and the sun is setting on combustion engine technology," says Ryan Popple, Proterra CEO.
You can hear from some of the team in the video below.