Optimal-EV, Proterra partner to introduce all-electric, low-floor shuttle

Optimal-EV and Proterra announced a new partnership that will pair Proterra’s battery technology with the industry’s first all-electric S1LF low-floor cutaway shuttle bus for the North American market.

Optimal-EV introduces all-electric, low-floor shuttle.

Optimal-EV’s S1LF will utilize Proterra’s high-performance battery systems, which have industry-leading energy density for maximum range, a flexible design to fit within a wide variety of vehicles and rigorous pack level validation to ensure safe and durable vehicle operation. 

The Proterra battery system powering the S1LF will feature 113 kWh of energy capacity and an all-electric, zero-emission drive system that is designed to enable more than 125 miles of driving range. The vehicle can fully charge in about two hours with optional DC fast charging. 

Ideal partners

The all-electric S1LF integrates a Ford E450 chassis platform, which has been fully optimized for the vehicle body. It will feature a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,500 pounds, with no reduction in carrying capacity.

“Electric vehicles offer a smoother, quieter rider experience while producing zero tailpipe emissions for improved air quality and public health. Optimal is expanding the accessibility of EV technology to more riders by introducing the industry’s first all-electric, low-floor shuttle bus,” Optimal Chief Operating Officer Dan Daniels said in a statement. “Proterra’s expertise and experience in battery-electric transit buses makes them an ideal and trusted partner as we design and deliver this new vehicle.”

2021 debut

The S1LF will debut at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) EXPO 2021, and be available for commercial purchase in 2021. The S1LF is the first of several planned commercial electric vehicles from Optimal-EV for use in a variety of applications.

“Commercial urban fleets are an ideal use case for EV technology, and we are excited to partner with Optimal to achieve a major milestone for the North American electric vehicle market,” said Proterra CEO Jack Allen. “Proterra’s best-in-class battery technology has been proven in more than 12 million miles of service with our transit buses across North America. Now, we look forward to providing the same industry-leading technology to power the first all-electric S1LF low-floor shuttle bus with Optimal.”

Proterra and Optimal-EV collaborated to determine the right size, shape and performance of the battery system for the S1LF vehicle. Proterra Powered leverages Proterra’s EV technology and expertise to help commercial vehicle manufacturers electrify their vehicles. 

As an OEM that uses its own battery technology to power its fleet of heavy-duty electric transit buses, Proterra brings more than a decade of experience manufacturing, testing and delivering EVs. To date, Proterra Powered has helped world-class OEMs like Thomas Built Bus, Van Hool and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) introduce 100% battery-electric vehicles that are powered by Proterra electric-vehicle technology.

Design expertise

The S1LF integrates 33 years of Optimal’s automotive design and CAE (computer-aided engineering) optimization and validation expertise, culminating in safe, reliable, and durable automotive-grade products with the efficiency and performance of a factory-installed, fully integrated electric power system. Optimal’s low-floor design, which is made possible by the innovative packaging of battery-electric propulsion, allows for ultra-low 11-inch step-in height and quick deployment of an ADA-compliant accessibility ramp without the need for the added complexity of a kneeling suspension.

Engineered and manufactured in the U.S., Proterra battery packs are designed specifically for safe operation in transportation and undergo rigorous testing to ensure they can withstand the toughest conditions. Proterra batteries incorporate state-of-the-art safety features, including sensors throughout each pack that deliver continuous monitoring and diagnostics; and cell-level passive propagation resistance (PPR), a safety design feature that isolates a defective cell and prevents it from causing complications throughout the entire pack. Further, each pack features a protective, ruggedized enclosure made with ballistic-grade materials.

Proterra also sells high-power charging systems that are purpose-built for heavy-duty applications and use standardized technology for interoperability. Proterra charging systems utilize the universal J1772-CCS Type 1 charging standard, enabling operators to use Proterra charging systems for a range of battery-electric powered vehicles.

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