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PRESS RELEASE - Seneca All Electric CatBus

Seneca ready to test electric buses in passenger service

Seneca, SC – August 2014 – The City of Seneca and Clemson Area Transit (CAT) are ready to begin the final deployment phase of the four Proterra electric buses: passenger service. Funded by a Federal Transit Agency grant awarded in 2011, the buses were recently delivered to Seneca for planned testing and deployment procedures.

Starting September 3, Seneca will place the electric buses into passenger service, allowing the public to try out the new buses for the first time. This final phase of deployment is to ensure that the electric buses can meet the demands of passenger service. The only change in service, other than reduced bus noise and emissions, is the relocation of the downtown stop to the lower level of the park where the new fast charger has been installed.

“CATbus is committed to delivering high quality transit service to our community with reliable and safe buses,” says Al Babinicz, CEO of Clemson Area Transit. “The electric buses represent the most advanced technology in the transit industry. We are excited about the opportunity to operate the only all-electric bus system in the nation operating electric buses made in South Carolina. What we are seeing today is part of an extensive and planned testing protocol to ensure that these buses can effectively operate within our CATbus service area.

Pictures by: Jim Bandy

In mid-July, CAT drivers completed a refresher-training course on the electric buses, after which the buses began a series of scheduled field tests. Proterra has also completed a number of upgrades and tests related to the advanced fast charging stations, located downtown and at Oconee Medical Center. “With any new technology, it is essential to conduct extensive testing and some of that testing must take place on location,” said Steve Clermont, a program manager with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), who are assisting Seneca with their electric bus deployment project. “We have a plan to fully test all operational aspects of the electric bus. As we progress through testing, the project team, including CAT and Proterra, evaluate the results and make recommendations on next steps.”

Seneca City Administrator Greg Dietterick is optimistic. “The City has been providing transit for seven years now. As an electric service provider and partner in innovation, we look forward to seeing electric buses that run cleaner and more efficiently on domestic power. This is a unique opportunity for Seneca and we sincerely appreciate Proterra’s efforts at making this a success. They have been a tremendous partner throughout this process.”

Ryan Popple, Chief Executive Officer of Proterra added, “This project is an important element of our strategy for innovation. By deploying our Electric Vehicles with a local fleet, we can benefit from their operating experience first-hand. Further, these new routes are the first test of our technology in a small city environment. The mix of rural, suburban, campus and urban miles demonstrate that clean, quiet, efficient electric vehicles are ready to serve the broader transit market. We hope that other cities and fleet operators can benefit from the experience gained by CAT, CTE and the City of Seneca in EV transit technology.”

About City of Seneca, SC
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Seneca has transitioned from a rural rail crossroads to a mill town and into a tourist and retirement destination. The city has embraced opportunities for innovation while working to maintain its natural and cultural quality of life.

About Clemson Area Transit
Clemson Area Transit (CAT) is a public service provided fare-free by Clemson University, the City of Clemson, the Town of Central, the Town of Pendleton, Anderson County, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and the Federal Transit Administration.

About The Center for Transportation & the Environment
The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that facilitates programs to develop technologies and implement solutions for energy and environmental sustainability. Since its founding in 1993, CTE has managed a portfolio of more than $290 million in federal, state, and local cost-shared research, development, and demonstration projects involving more than 200 organizations in the advanced transportation technology field.

About Proterra, Inc.
Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacture of clean technology and clean energy, providing zero- emission vehicles that enable bus fleet operators to significantly reduce operating cost while delivering clean, quiet power to the community. Proterra buses’ fast-charge enabled infinite range makes them well-suited to transit routes. With unmatched durability and energy efficiency based on rigorous industry testing at Altoona, the Proterra product is proudly made in America and based in Greenville, SC. For more information about Proterra, please visit

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