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AEV Summit: Proterra rarity among electrification startups — it has revenue

Choice of going public via SPAC was a matter of storytelling

FreightWaves Detroit Bureau Chief Alan Adler interviews Proterra CEO Jack Allen. during the Autonomous & Electric Vehicle Summit.

This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Autonomous & Electric Vehicles Summit on Wednesday.

KEYNOTE CHAT TOPIC: Breaking the chicken-and-egg challenge in electrification

DETAILS: Proterra got its start making electric transit buses but in recent years has expanded its scope to include making batteries and providing charging infrastructure. Buses are still the main business but the future lies in enabling electric vehicles to stay on the road.


Jack Allen, CEO and chairman, Proterra Inc.  


Allen joined Proterra four years ago as a board member and became CEO in March 2020. He spent more than three decades at Navistar, where he was chief operating officer and an executive vice president. He also served as  president of Navistar’s North America truck and parts division.


“I was very familiar with electrification at Navistar and they were really in the infant stages when I was leaving. I get to Proterra and they had spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing a product line that was incredibly superior to anything that was going on in the commercial electric vehicle space.”

“When you do a traditional IPO, you are only allowed to take a backward look at your company, and that’s how you market it to investors. But when you do a SPAC, you’re allowed to take a forward look at your market and tell the investors a lot greater detail of where your company is going.”

“I do believe  there is an opportunity for co-existence between batteries and hydrogen to some extent. I just think it’s unrealistic to believe the infrastructure investment is going to be made to allow Class 8 fleets to refuel across the country.”

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler

F3: Future of Freight Festival


The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

One Comment

  1. Jeff Emig

    Poorterra is good at one thing LOOSING OTHER PEOPLES MONEY. The 18 year old start up needs how many more years to fix their problems. It has revenue because the government gave out billions of dollars to city’s to purchase Low or No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle Program NOT because of a superior product. How did buying defective products work out for RENO, NY CITY, Chicago, The revenue they claim comes from selling charging equipment that is rebranded from a real manufacturer not a POORTERRA product. DO YOU RESEARCH BEFORE SPENDING YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY ON THIS TERRIBLE RUN Company. Inadequate and down right incompetent engineering, Poorterra has been making buses for 18 years and still can not get it right how much more time will it take, SEARCH NHTSA RECALLS, see all the failures. SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch acknowledged that the transportation agency’s entire fleet of 25 all-electric buses, the third-largest fleet in the U.S., has been “fully sidelined” since February. Because the buses are falling apart and don’t work as they should . PROTERRA THE LEADER IN SELLING NON-WORKING PRODUCTS. How many VP got millions of dollars in stock options and still the buses don’t work. How about they take their millions and pay back the customers they swindled. I have no financial interest or will in the future. I only know how bad the company is run and want to save inventors form being taken by their smoke and mirrors, their fancy logo and misleading statements. Other manufactures are making electric transit buses with FULLY TESTED and FUNCTIONING SYSTEMS. NEW FLYER, BYD, GILLIG, CUMMINS. Not sure how much more time a 18 year old company needs to make a product that works. I wish I could live on other peoples money for 18 years while I continue to lose 70+ million a quarter while making only 45 buses in two manufacturing plants with 500 employees. Maybe the 85 Vice Presidents making 200k+ each at the company could get out of their offices and go do some REAL work. Does a company of 500 need 85 VP’s.

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.