GM Venture Boost Investment in Electric Bus Maker image

GM Venture has made for the second time an investment in Proterra Inc., a manufacturer of battery-electric, fast-charge bus.

GM Ventures, which is GM’s venture capital arm, and six other companies have invested $23 million in the bus manufacturer Proterra. The investors are Hennessey Capital Management LLC, NMT Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mitsui & Co. Global Investment Inc., 88 Green Ventures and Vision Ridge Partners.

Proterra will use the $23 million to increase delivery of its battery-electric EcoRide buses to new markets and customers. A complete fast charge for the EcoRide takes 10 minutes and it can travel up to 40 miles. The company said that it currently has 7 transit authority customers, an increase from only 2 over the past 18 months.

Last year GM Ventures invested $6 million in Proterra, which is only one of the many investments the venture capital arm makes in startup companies which develop auto-related technologies. GM Venture invests in five main areas: processors and memory, manufacturing technologies, automotive cleantech (motors and batteries), advanced materials and connected-vehicle devices.

“Technology is evolving really, really rapidly in automotive today,” Jon Lauckner, GM’s chief technology officer and president of GM Ventures, said last week at a media dinner in San Francisco.