Proterra Inc., which develops and assembles drive and energy storage systems for heavy-duty vehicles, including their ground-breaking BE-35 fast-charge battery-electric transit bus, announced that it will locate a facility in Greenville County at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) for research and development as well as assembly of its products. Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Bob Inglis, Mayor Knox White, Greenville County Council Chairman H. G. “Butch” Kirven Jr., Clemson University President James Barker, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the South Carolina Research Authority joined Proterra in making the announcement today.
“We are very excited to pursue the next stage of Proterra’s manufacturing and development in Greenville. This new facility will be our first full-scale, state-of-the-art research and development and manufacturing facility for our groundbreaking clean transportation solutions. Several months ago, Proterra retained the help of eRealty Companies Inc. and NPB Capital to assist in the site selection process. After a nation-wide search involving some 30 states, we selected Greenville, South Carolina as a result of the state’s numerous benefits in terms of workforce capabilities and research and development support. Additionally, we were impressed by the efforts of the Governor, the federal delegation, the local officials and economic development entities which far exceeded our expectations. We look forward to continuing a long and fruitful level of collaboration with the state of South Carolina and City of Greenville,” said Jeff Granato, CEO of Proterra Inc.
Proterra and its partners design, develop and assemble all electric and battery dominant hybrid drive solutions and complete vehicles for commercial applications including transit, school and commercial buses, parcel delivery vehicles and other class 4-8 trucks. Its revolutionary BE-35 fast charge battery electric transit bus has been tested at the Federal Transit Administration’s Altoona Center as achieving between 17 and 21 miles per gallon (diesel equivalent), a roughly 500 percent improvement over conventional diesel buses. Proterra’s very first vehicle, a battery dominant fuel cell hybrid transit bus funded by the FTA, is in service in Columbia, South Carolina. Proterra is headquartered in Golden, Colorado at the Coors Technology Center.
“Proterra's decision to put down roots in South Carolina represents not only a significant investment and new job opportunities, but also another step toward expanding our state's role in the growing market of next generation clean technologies,” said Gov. Sanford. “I’d offer the state's appreciation to Sec. Taylor and his team at Commerce along with all our economic development partners at the state and local levels for their combined efforts to make our state that much more competitive in this global economy. With that said, we look forward to welcoming the Proterra team to South Carolina.”
Proterra anticipates that it will invest $68 million and create more than 1,300 new jobs over the next seven years in Greenville County.The company will hire a variety of skilled workers to support functions ranging from mechanical assembly, warehouse, logistics, managerial, engineering and quality assurance.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce has approved Proterra for the Job Development Credits program, which is a performance-based incentive directly related to new job creation and new capital investment. Additionally, Commerce will make two grants to Greenville County totaling $3 million to assist with site preparation and infrastructure improvements for the project.
Upstate South Carolina will be home to one of the nation's most innovative transportation companies with today's announcement that Proterra has chosen CU-ICAR as home for its assembly and research and development facilities.
“This is exciting news for Clemson University, for Greenville and for South Carolina,” Clemson University President James F. Barker said. “Proterra is an innovative, dynamic company that brings a new dimension to the CU-ICAR campus. Its product and processes fit the CU-ICAR curriculum and our program-driven campus perfectly. We look forward to a great partnership.”
“In addition to Clemson University, many others have worked tirelessly over the past several months to convince Proterra that CU-ICAR is the right place to realize their goals for the future,” Barker added.
“Not unlike the recent Boeing 787 announcement, this is another example of South Carolina leading in the green economy. The bus that Proterra is going to build in Greenville will not only be good for the environment, but it will help this nation break our dependency on foreign oil,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham. “I applaud local and state leaders for helping make the case that South Carolina is a great place to do business.”
“This exciting news reaffirms South Carolina as one of the best places in the world to do business,” said Sen. Jim DeMint. “We can all be proud of the strategic partnership between economic development professionals, education and research leaders and elected officials at every level that helped attract these much-needed jobs. Proterra’s decision to locate in Greenville is one more step towards the fulfillment of the long-term vision of the Upstate as a world-class automotive cluster. I’m confident this investment will pay dividends for both Proterra and our community for years to come.”
Proterra’s decision to invest in Greenville was the result of a coordinated team effort from the federal delegation to the local level.
“We’re excited to welcome Proterra to the Upstate and CU-ICAR. This commitment on the part of Proterra continues to show the way CU-ICAR is fulfilling its promise to create jobs and help South Carolina lead nationally in reinventing the car,” Inglis said. “Proterra exemplifies the can-do spirit of Americans by creating new jobs through innovation and in the process helping break our dependence on the Middle East for oil. This goes to show that the road to energy security and economic recovery runs through the Upstate of South Carolina.”
“Proterra’s landing in South Carolina is the result of both team effort and growing alignment among business, academic, governmental and economic development partners,” said Bill Mahoney, SCRA Chief Executive Officer. “While SCRA’s SC Launch program has been primarily focused on support of start-up companies, in concert with our partners across the state, we’ll see more and more landing parties like Proterra arrive in South Carolina to further strengthen the knowledge economy here. These important high-tech businesses are closely aligning with the vertical markets that our research universities and their economic development partners have targeted.”
The City of Greenville will not only add an innovative transportation company to its business community, but Greenville will also purchase buses from Proterra for the City’s public transit use.
“Proterra's location in Greenville is another piece in the CU-ICAR puzzle that establishes it as one of the premier locations for leading edge transportation and technology companies,” said Greenville Mayor Knox White.
“This is a red letter day, not just for Greenville, but for the Upstate and for South Carolina. Proterra opens the door to a whole new range of innovative enterprises to come. We are very proud of our team who worked very hard to make this happen, and we are very proud of our newest corporate citizen – Proterra,” said H. G. “Butch” Kirven Jr., GADC director and chairman of Greenville County Council.
In addition to state and local officials, Proterra thanked the following parties for their efforts: Greenville Area Development Corporation, the South Carolina Energy Office, readySC™, the Clemson University Real Estate Foundation and many others.
Proterra will lease 25 acres in Technology Neighborhood Three on the CU-ICAR campus to construct a 240,000-square-foot building, with the potential to expand into the entire 50-acre site. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2010. A ground-breaking ceremony will be held at a future date.
Proterra will work with readySC™ on workforce training and job placement. Please note that hiring will begin at a future date that has yet to be determined.