BMW i Ventures, the venture capital arm of BMW, is making a huge splash in the world of electric mass transportation. The venture capital arm this week announced a strategic investment in the Silicon Valley-based electric vehicle maker Proterra. The news about BMW marks the first direct EV investment for Proterra.
According to Automotive News, the Silicon Valley-based Proterra is a leading innovator and manufacturer of heavy duty electric mass transit vehicles. The company said it holds a significant share of the massive North American electric mass transportation market and has already sold more than 400 electric vehicles to commercial transit agencies and some of the country’s most innovative cities, which include Seattle, Dallas, Nashville, San Jose, Reno, Philadelphia and Greater Los Angeles. The firm’s primary goal is to eliminate the dependency on fossil fuels and reduce the operating costs for transit operators in North America.
Proterra said it plans to use the BMW’s funding to increase production of its two manufacturing plants, which reportedly located in South Carolina and Los Angeles. Proterra also plans to use the said investment to strengthen R&D effort at the company’s main headquarters.
This is not the first time Proterra has raised money for its EV effort. The Silicon Valley-based company has already raised a $140 million in Series E funding just six months ago.
Proterra has declined to disclose the exact amount of strategic investment made by BMW i Ventures. But it added new investors on board, which include Generation Investment Management and BMW i Ventures.
Generation Investment Management is a company founded by former US Vice President Al Gore. The investment firm currently manages around $17 billion of investment and stands as one of the leading sustainably minded investment companies today. It also carries the clout of the former US Vice President Al Gore, one of the most prominent public figures in the war against climate change. The company has been following Proterra for some time.
In addition to the technical support and funding, Generation Investment also brings 15 years of developing relationships with numerous cities and companies worldwide that showed lots of interest in the field of sustainability and green technology.
Founded in 2011, BMW i Ventures was originally established to invest in high-growth companies with the strong focus in mobility services and technology.
Image Credit: US Department of Transportation
Video Credit: US Department of Transportation