Electric bus and truck maker Proterra, the supplier of BC Transit’s EV buses, says it is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from a federal court in Delaware.
The Burlingame, California, company is a big supplier of buses to transit systems. A statement on Proterra’s website Monday said that it intends to maintain normal operations and will file motions with the court to use existing capital to keep funding operations, including paying employees, vendors and suppliers.
In May 2022, BC Transit said it had finalized and awarded a contract for its first 10 heavy-duty electric buses to Proterra, part of the company’s push to have an entirely electric bus fleet by 2040.
The first 10 buses were expected to hit the streets that fall, while 10 more were to be delivered starting this summer.
The $20-million contract ended a procurement process that was launched in fall 2020 and allows BC Transit the option of buying additional electric buses, charging equipment and other services in the future.
BC Transit says it is aware that Proterra has voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
“In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Proterra has stated they will continue to operate business as usual as they proceed through the process,” BC Transit said in a statement to CHEK News.
“We will continue to monitor the situation which includes keeping close contact with Proterra as they navigate through their proceedings and assess how it will impact our current orders. BC Transit remains under contract for the 10 battery electric buses and they are still planned to arrive in Victoria this fall.”
U.S. President Joe Biden visited Proterra’s factory in South Carolina in 2021 to highlight U.S. electric vehicle makers.
The company said in the statement that it’s taking action to separate its business units “to maximize their independent potential.” It sells heavy truck, van, bus and off-highway equipment in the U.S., European and Asia-Pacific markets.
“While our best-in-class EV and battery technologies have set an industry standard, we have faced various market and macroeconomic headwinds, that have impacted our ability to efficiently scale all of our opportunities simultaneously,” CEO Gareth Joyce said in the statement.
“As commercial vehicles accelerate towards electrification, we look forward to sharpening our focus as a leading EV battery technology supplier for the benefit of our many stakeholders.”
Shares in Proterra Inc. closed Tuesday down more than 88 per cent at 17 cents.