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Proterra, based in Burlingame, California, is planning an initial public offering, but would not give a timeline for the debut.

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An Obama-era program that sets aside $55 million a year in grants to help transit agencies purchase clean buses will expire in 2020 if not renewed by Congress.Market research firm Navigant Research expects electric buses to make up 27 percent of new U. In environmentally friendly San Francisco, officials have resisted electrics over concerns about the city’s famously steep hills.“The technology isn’t quite there yet,” Erica Kato, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said in a statement. An electric bus tested last year near Phoenix wilted in the summer heat due to the strains of running the air conditioning.December 13, 2017 (This December 12 story corrects attribution in paragraph 4) By Nichola Groom LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Communities across the United States are looking to replace their dirty diesel buses, ushering in what some analysts predict will be a boom in electric fleets. A typical 40-foot electric bus costs around $750,000, compared with about $435,000 for a diesel bus.But transit agencies doing the buying are moving cautiously, an analysis by Reuters shows. Cheaper fuel and maintenance expenses can lower the overall costs over the 12-year life of the vehicles.But even green-energy advocates are skeptical of such rosy predictions.

CALSTART, a California-based nonprofit that promotes clean transportation, figures 50 percent to 60 percent of new buses will be zero emissions by 2030. NOT QUITE THERE YET Transit agencies have found EV performance lags in extreme conditions.

Bus ridership is falling nationwide, according to the American Public Transportation Association, and transit officials say they are trying to keep a lid on fares. market, the company has just a handful of pure battery electrics in service. Remember 20 years ago someone paid $20,000 for a plasma TV and then 10 years later it was $900 at Best Buy,” said Stoddart, senior vice president of engineering and customer service for New Flyer.

The technology is still a gamble for many cities, says Chris Stoddart, an executive at Canadian bus maker New Flyer Industries Inc . “People just don’t want a science project.” Rival electric bus manufacturers expect dramatic growth; the most ambitious forecasts call for all bus purchases to be electric by 2030.

Seattle’s King County Metro transit agency soon will be operating more than a dozen vehicles by three manufacturers, according to Pete Melin, director of zero emission fleet technologies. Still, Melin said, high electricity rates from the local utility at peak demand periods are a concern.

And the lack of a uniform charging system among bus makers has complicated Seattle’s goal of running an all-electric fleet by 2034.

Foothill Transit, in Southern California, has been operating Proterra buses since 2010.