Proterra Catalyst BE40

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Proterra Catalyst BE40
Proterra 2014 Catalyst demonstrator-a.jpg
Years of manufacture 2014 to 2020
Length 42 feet
Width 102 inches
Power/Fuel Electricity

The Proterra Catalyst is the company's second generation battery electric low floor transit bus. It was first launched as the 40-foot Catalyst BE40 at the 2014 APTA Bus and Paratransit Conference in Kansas City. Foothill Transit, the launch customer for the first generation bus, was the first to order the latest generation bus.

The Catalyst uses a monocoque structure composed of E-glass fibre stitched non-crimp fabric and unidirectional carbon fibre in a vinyl ester resin. It is moulded using the Seeman Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process (SCRIMP), a vacuum-assisted closed infusion molding method, by TPI Composites. A gel-coat layer is first placed in the mould followed by triaxl glass fibre fabic. Unidirectional carbon fibre fabric is used to add strength at key areas. Quadriaxial quasi-isotropic glass fibre fabric is used where strength and stiffness are especially critical. The materials are vacuum bagged and infused with catalyzed vinyl ester resin. The resulting compsoite structure is lightweight and can absorb a large amount of energy in a collision.[1]

The upper body from the roof down to the lower window line, which includes the entire windshield and rear window, is on section. The lower body from the lower window line to the floor is another. The upper section of the roof and the ceiling are glass fibre sandwich structures with a balsa wood core. Components such as doors and interior fittings are attached by either molding stainless steel inserts into the laminate or by bonding.[1]

For the 2019 model year forward, the roofline towards the rear was reshaped. In addition, the vent above the rear window was no longer separated into three sections. An option that was first noted on the buses for the Toronto Transit Commission, is a rear window that can open for emergency egress.

The Catalyst can travel up to 55 miles before the standard fast charge (FC) batteries, now lithium–titanate instead of lithium-ion, need to be recharged. In February 2015, Proterra introduced an extended range (XR) option that allows the bus to travel up to 180 miles between charges. A year later, Proterra introduced an enhanced XR battery that holds 28 percent more energy at 330 kWh, allowing the bus to travel up to 193 miles. At the 2016 American Public Transit Association (APTA) Annual Meeting, Proterra unveiled their E2 (Efficient Energy) battery option with a capacity of 440 to 660 kWh that allows the bus to travel between 194 and 350 miles. This range is able to meet a full day's worth of service for some agencies.[2]

At the 2017 American Public Transit Association EXPO in Atlanta, Proterra introduced their DuoPower drivetrain. It integrates two 190 kWh electric motors and two-speed transmission into a planetary axle from AxleTech. It boasts almost twice the horsepower as the standard ProDrive drivetrain and is five times more efficient than a standard diesel bus. With the DuoPower drivetrain, the Catalyst E2 max has a nominal range of 426 miles.[3]

The bus's batteries can be charged enroute with a proprietary overhead charging station, which features automatic docking.[4] The standard FC option can be fully charged in ten minutes, while the XR option can be fully charged in approximately one hour.[5] The bus can also be plugged in using a J1772 CCS charger at the garage. The E2 is only charged this way while the bus is out of service, typically when it is parked overnight, at the garage and is fully charged in three to five hours. In May 2018, to improve interoperability with other battery-electric buses, Proterra introduced compatibility with the SAE J3105 (OppCharge) overhead charging standard. [6] The roof rails to accommodate OppCharge charging are mounted on the roof near the front of the bus on trapezoidal blisters.

In 2020, Proterra restyled their line of battery-electric buses. The roofline was made more streamlined with provision for room-mounted battery packs, and additionally, integrated Oppcharge charging rails at the front of the bus. The tail light clusters on the 40ft vehicle were updated to the same design as used on the 35ft vehicle. The vehicle styling was made more angular with a flatter front end, and a recess was added under the windshield. The rated power of the powertrain options have also been increased.[7] Edmonton Transit System was the launch customer for the redesigned vehicle. The redesigned buses were formally launched as the ZX5 on September 15, 2020. [8]


Length: 42' 6"
Width: 102"
Height: 135.5"
Wheelbase: 24’ 8"
Turning Radius: 41.9'
GVWR: 43,650 lbs
Traction motor Availability
ProDrive drivetrain UQM HD220 220 kW peak permanent magnet motor 2014 to present
DuoPower drivetrain Dual independent 190 kW motors 2017 to present
Eaton EEV-7202 2-speed auto-shift EV transmission
Independent front suspension and multi-link air-ride rear suspension
Four wheel disc brakes w/ ABS and optional traction control
Battery options
Series Model Nominal range Standard charge time Curb weight
ProDrive FC (Fast Charge) FC 55 miles <1 hour 28,324 lbs
FC+ 72 miles <1 hour 29,900 lbs
DuoPower FC (Fast Charge) FC 49 miles <1 hour 26,446 lbs
FC+ 62 miles <1 hour 29,900 lbs
ProDrive XR (eXtended Range) XR 136 miles <2.5 hours 26,750 lbs
XR+ 193 miles <2.5 hours 28,324 lbs
DuoPower XR (eXtended Range) XR 164 miles <2.5 hours 26,750 lbs
XR+ 238 miles <2.5 hours 28,324 lbs
ProDrive E2 (Efficient Energy) E2 251 miles <3 hours 29,900 lbs
E2+ 303 miles <3.5 hours 31,574 lbs
E2 max 350 miles <4.5 hours 33,150 lbs
DuoPower E2 (Efficient Energy) E2 305 miles <3 hours 29,900 lbs
E2+ 367 miles <3.5 hours 31,574 lbs
E2 max 426 miles <4.5 hours 33,150 lbs

Other Photos

Demonstrator and engineering units

Below is a list of known demonstrator and engineering buses.

Fleet number Thumbnail Year VIN Motors Notes
April 2014 1M9TH16J0ES816064
  • Altoona test bus from June 19, 2014 to April 10, 2015
December 2016 1M9TH16JXGS816124
  • White exterior
  • Charcoal American Seating InSight seats with multi-colour crescent patterned inserts.
  • Altoona test bus from June 2, 2017 to July 27, 2017
  • Demo with TTC April 16 to 21, 2018
2017 1M9TH16J1HL816135
c. 2017
  • Green, blue and black wrap
  • Charcoal American Seating InSight seats with blue patterned inserts
  • Shuttle for 2017 APTA Expo in Atlanta
Proterra Catalyst BE40 2018 Demo-b.jpg

Proterra Catalyst BE40 2018 demo-a.jpg

March 2018 1M9TH16J2JS816240 Dual independent 190kW motors
  • Green, blue and black wrap in 2018
  • Blue and purple wrap in 2019
  • Grey and blue interior with USSC Gemini seats
  • Demo with TTC November 12, 2018
  • Displayed at 2018 CUTA Transit Show in Toronto
  • Displayed at 2019 CUTA Transit Show in Calgary
  • License Plate: MA2587


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  1. 1.0 1.1 Dawson, Donna. "A clean technology for clean, zero-emissions buses." CompositesWorld, 01 October 2018.
  2. Proterra Catalyst® E2 Series Sets New Industry Precedent with a Nominal Range of up to 350 Miles. Press release. 12 September 2016. Protera, Inc. Retrieved on 16 November 2016.
  3. Proterra Introduces the DuoPower™ Drivetrain for its Catalyst® Zero-Emission Buses at APTA. Press release. 09 October 2017. Proterra.
  4. Proterra, bus maker, aims to follow Tesla model. Retrieved on 02 September 2014.
  5. Proterra Introduces Extended-Range Electric Bus, Flexible Battery System. Press release. 24 February 2016. Protera, Inc. Retrieved on 16 November 2016.
  6. Proterra Switches To SAE J3105 Standard For Overhead Charging. Press release. 20 May 2018. InsideEVs.
  7. ZX5 Electric Bus. Retrieved on September 15, 2020
  8. Proterra Unveils the Proterra® ZX5 Next-Generation Battery-Electric Transit Vehicle. Retrieved September 15, 2020